University of Horth Cairolina.
Endowefl by the Dialectic and Philanthropic
Call No. Q., '^ X-J^ _^ VA" W\.
This book is due on the last date stamped
below unless recalled sooner. It may be
renewed only once and must be brought to
the North Carolina Collection for renewal.
Form No. A-369
I. • 1 f-.,..''-.!-^^,-
A MAID OF THE MOUNTAINS
A MAID OF
GEORGE WJACOB/- ^COMPANY
Copyright, 1906, by
George W. Jacobs & Company
Published^ October, igo6
All rights reserved
Printed in U. S. A.
I. The Accident 9
II. The Home- Coming . . , . 29
III. The Surprise o .... 43
IV. Beth Meets Carol .... 65
V. Eueur Eeturns Eiderless . . 89
VI. The Deserted Cabin . . . 105
Vn. Harvey Brings Watch to Beth . 127
VIII. The '' Wicked Woman " . .153
IX. Don 163
X. An Angel of Mercy . . . 177
XL Beth' s Plan 201
Xn. The Dark Corner . . « . 219
Xni. Carol's Father . . . . 231
XIV. The Entertainment . . . 257
XV. Camping 291
XVI. Duke is Missing .... 315
XVII. Northward Bound .... 341
*^ Wouldn^t they make nice sweet-
hearts for Gustus^^ . . Facing page 16
*^ How well you look in your cadet
uniform" . . . .
"Here comes Gustus, bringing
your mule" . . . .
Beth • • • • •
" Let's make candy "
"It'll look nice to see chickens
about the place " .
The Davenport Camp . • •
Notwithstanding that Beth Davenport was
born North and had lived in Florida only a few-
years, yet the Southland was home to her and
she loved it very dearly.
" Oh, you needn't talk," said Harvey Baker,
her best boy friend and a great tease, " you're a
little Northerner through and through."
Whereupon her eyes snapped and she even
stamped her foot. " I feel like a Southerner and
that makes me one," she cried.
Therefore she was vastly pleased when her
father bought a summer home up in the moun-
tainous region of North Carolina. By spending
the summers as well as the winters South, she
hoped to appear more of a Southerner than ever.
She was a great lover of dogs, owning a
number of them, and at first expected to take all
her pets with her, but her father vetoed this plan.
"It's out of the question, Beth, our taking
more than one dog to Tremont with us."
" Then I'll take Duke, of course," she answered,
without an instant's hesitation. " There isn't
another dog like him in all the world."
1 2 A Maid of the Mountains
Bad as it was to leave her pets behind, parting
from her friends was even worse, especially as
she had little hope of seeing them for six months
or more. Saying good-bye to Harvey Baker and
to Julia Gordon was the greatest wrench.
"I — I didn't know how fond I was of them
until it came to leaving them for so long," Beth
confessed to her sixteen-year-old sister, Marian,
after they were settled on the cars.
Never did a journey seem so long as that one
to Beth. First one delay and then another oc-
curred, so that at Spartanburg, South Carolina,
where there was another wait, this time for the
South bound train to pass, they were seven
hours behind time, due mostly to severe storms
that had caused washouts along the way.
Hardly had the train come to a standstill before
Beth was out on the platform. For a moment
she paused, not only for her father to catch up
with her, but to look eagerly around.
The March skv was still of a leaden hue
although temporarily the rain had ceased ; but a
streak of lightning flashed across the west, fol-
lowed by a low, threatening grumble. Yet
neither the menacing state of the weather nor
the muddy, rain-soaked clay roadway had kept
people from congregating around the depot.
Clay-bespattered horses and queer vehicles were
lined along a railing while the natives themselves
clustered around the incoming train.
The Accident 13
Suddenly Beth realized that the coming sum-
mer was to reveal an entirely unfamiliar South
to her. The prospect made her heart thrill ; she
did so love new experiences. But the mountain-
eers were very queer looking people, she thought.
" Papa," began Beth as she and Mr. Davenport
walked toward the baggage car, " I'm so glad
we're to spend ttie summer in the mountains. I
expect to have just a grand time ! "
Her father smiled in sympathy with her mood.
" You generally do have a good time, Beth."
The baggageman in charge of Duke was
evidently expecting them. He stood in the open
doorway holding the dog by a great chain.
At sight of Beth, Duke tried to leap down to
her, but a quick pull brought him to a standstill
with his feet in mid-air.
"Aha, old fellow, I'm on to your tricks," said
" Please, please let him come out," begged
Beth in the manner that very few denied.
The instant Duke was free, with a leap and a
bark, he was beside his young mistress. Then he
bounded ahead, looking back longingly inviting
her to a frolic with him. Only for a moment
did she resist the challenge. She feared she was
a little too old for such sport in sight of strangers,
but, being still somewhat of a tomboy, she threw
prudence to the winds and flew up the platform,
H A Maid of the Mountains
"Don't be gone long," cautioned Mr. Daven-
" Beth," called a voice from the day coach
" Beth ! "
" Why, Marian, what are you doing in there ? "
answered Beth, surprised to see Marian leaning
out of an open window.
" It was stuffy in the sleeper. Bring Duke in
here a minute."
So Beth led Duke into the day coach where
she perched herself on the arm of the seat
beside her sister, still holding Duke by the collar.
" It's nice in here. You get mamma, and I'll
bring papa back with me, and we'll stay until
we reach Tremont," proposed Beth who always
enjoyed a change.
" All right," agreed Marian.
Duke, growing restless, pulled on his collar, so
Beth took him outside once more and let him go
free. Whereupon he ran to the end of the plat-
form as wildly glad as if hounding game. His
feet hardly seemed to touch the platform, and
Beth enjoyed chasing after him, her cheeks
flushed and her eyes dancing with joy. As she
turned to run back, the South bound train came
into sight, so she called Duke to her and patting
his head said :
" Now Duke, you've got to go in the baggage
car a little while longer. Even if you do hate
it in there, you're not sorry you came. You do
The Accident 15
as I say about everything. You'd do anything
for me, wouldn't you ? "
A wag of his tail in answer made Beth more
sure than ever that he knew her meaning. To
her he was human in his intelligence, and, in
fact, she was not far wrong.
At the baggage car, Duke drew back quivering
as the man started to put on the chain.
" He'll not mind so much if I put it on him,"
Beth said, but as she leaned over Duke she
noted a bad sore under his collar.
" Oh, the chain's cut the poor fellow," she said
with a catch in her throat. As a usual thing
she did not cry easily, but to have those hurt
whom she loved, humankind or beast, made her
indignant, and then the tears came unbidden.
" He mustn't be chained again. He'll be very
good if he goes free the rest of the way. Prom-
ise me you'll be good, Duke."
He barked in answer, whereupon Beth smiled
confidingly at the man. " He says he'll be good.
You'll not put that horrid chain on him, will
you ? "
" No, I guess I can let him go without it," the
" All aboard," cried the conductor.
Mr. Davenport came up just then and he and
Beth hurried toward their car. " Oh, mamma
and Marian were to be in here," said Beth at the
steps of the day coach, and skipped ahead con-
1 6 A Maid of the Mountains
ducting her father to where the other two mem-
bers of the family were seated.
" Look, papa," Beth cried with her face
pressed eagerly against the glass as the train
pulled out into the open country.
On a low wooden porch in front of a cabin,
sat five little colored girls all in a row. The end
one grinned and hung her head, and the others
too, smiled at the passing train.
" Wouldn't they make nice sweethearts for
Gustus ! " exclaimed Beth.
Gustus was her especial protege. She it was
who had discovered him when a ragged young
urchin a number of years before, and ever since
he had worked for the Davenports in Florida.
" Gustus would choose one of the end ones, as
they are the jolliest," answered Mr. Davenport.
" It's already growing so dark that I can
hardly see," Beth said a moment later. " I wish
we had reached Tremont in the morning as we
should have done. I hate so many horrid old
delays." Her petulance was only momentary.
'* I wonder if Maggie will be down at the train to
meet us," and a happy smile illumined her face
at the thought of seeing again their old colored
servant who had been sent ahead to get their
home in readiness for them.
Once more she tried to peer through the fast
gathering darkness, but the windows blurred so
that in a few minutes she gave up the attempt.
TTie Accident 17
" It's raining again," she murmured, and, rest-
lessness seizing upon her, she flounced across to
an opposite seat. Having nothing to amuse her
made her so sleepy that she yawned. Then her
dark, curly head nodded. In an effort to keep
awake, she looked around in hopes that some one
would notice her, but no one did. With a sigh,
she sank down on the cushioned seat, no longer
struggling to keep her eyes open. On and on
" The next stop will be ours," said Mr. Daven-
port as the brakeman called Landrums. " We'd
better go back and get our things together.
Shall I waken Beth ? "
" ISTo, we need not disturb her now. We'll
send the porter for her before we reach Tremont."
" It's stopped raining and the air is fine. I'd
like to stay out here a few moments," cried
Marian at the door. She walked to the topmost
step of the platform which was not vestibuled on
" Marian, do be careful," called her mother.
Laughing gayly, Marian looked around.
" There isn't a particle of danger."
Not reassured, Mrs. Davenport stepped to-
ward Marian, but because of the intense darkness
turned to her husband for help. That instant
there was a sudden, awful lurch, as if the train
were being thrown from the track.
" Mamma ! papa I Save me ! " Marian shouted,
i8 A Maid of the Mountains
reaching out wildly to save herself, but at the
same instant she was pitched headforemost out
into the darkness. At the same instant both
Mr. and Mrs. Davenport were thrown from their
feet by the violence of the shock and hurled to
the ground below.
The sound of hissing steam, a splintering of
wood, and a crying out that was doubly terrify-
ing in the darkness brought Mr. Davenport to
his senses, but in such a confused state of mind
that he could not think. He knew there was
something he should remember, something aw-
ful, but his brain refused to work for the mo-
" Mary," he murmured from force of habit.
He always turned to his wife in time of trouble.
The name recalled the accident that had befallen
his loved ones, and he rose to a sitting position.
" Mary — Marian," he called loudly.
"Here, James, here. Where's Marian?"
The words came from the ground not far from
his* side. He started to kneel, and though every
muscle ached, the physical pain was as nothing to
the fear that his wife and children might be in a
" Are you hurt, Mary ? "
The question recalled his wife to the full mean-
ing of the situation. She sprang up entirely for-
getful of self.
" Marian — Beth," she sobbed, so weak her-
The Accident 19
self that she tottered and would have fallen had
not her husband caught her.
" You are hurt," he cried.
" Don't think of me," she murmured. " Marian
— Beth, we must find them," and the thought of
their danger strengthened her. " Marian, Mar-,
ian," she called, and began rushing around in
frantic search of her child.
Mr. Davenport drew out his match case, but
the wind made it difficult to get a light. With
extreme care, he finally succeeded, only to have
the light go out without revealing the where-
abouts of their lost daughter.
"Marian, Marian," called Mrs. Davenport,
" She's here," cried Mr. Davenport suddenly.
At the same instant by aid of the flickering
match, Mrs. Davenport saw the apparently life-
less figure of Marian stretched out on the soft
clay not far from the track. She rushed to
Marian and raised her close to her own beating
heart, as if she hoped to give her child life by
the intensity of her love.
" Speak to me, Marian. Mother is here.
Mother will save you."
"Let her have air. It will bring her to,
With a shudder Marian revived. " What has
happened ? " she asked.
No answer was possible, they having no
20 A Maid of the Mountains
more idea than she of the nature of the accident.
Assured now that one daughter lived, the mother's
heart was anxious yet fearful to know the fate of
her baby. " Beth — we must find her, James,"
she cried, loosening Marian's hold of her arm.
"Mamma, don't leave me. I'm so afraid,"
sobbed Marian hysterically.
" You stay with her, Mary. I'll see what has
happened," and with these words Mr. Davenport
started toward the track.
" Marian, can't you come, too ? Just think,
Beth " Tears so choked Mrs. Davenport
that she could not finish.
Marian struggled to her feet, but sank back
with a cry. " Oh, my ankle ! It hurts terribly."
A man carrying a lantern loomed up suddenly
through the darkness.
" What's happened ? Please tell us what's
happened ! " cried Mrs. Davenport.
The man swung the lantern their way. " Why,
you're the mother of the girl with the dog !
That dog saved my life. If I hadn't just opened
the door to let him out at Tremont, I'd have
been in the burning cars this minute. I was
" Burning cars ? " repeated Mrs. Davenport
with a terrible fear clutching at her throat.
" Hurry, hurry, we must save Beth ; she may
be in the burning cars," and grasping the man
by the arm she started away with him.
The Accident 21
" Mamma, don't leave me," sobbed Marian,
but her cry was unheeded. Then she hobbled
forward a step or two, but sank back on the
ground, her ankle paining greatly. The beating
of her heart almost suffocated her so sore afraid
was she on her own account. But when she be-
held flames burst up through the darkness, her
own terror was overcome in dread for her sister's
" Beth, dear little sister Beth, only live and I'll
never tease you again as long as I live," she
Feeling utterly helpless, she cried as if her
heart would break, but all the while the prayer
in her heart was, " God save Beth. Guide us to
my dear, dear sister."
Suddenly, something wet and cold touched her
hand which caused her to shriek aloud. In the
darkness and horror of the hour, she imagined
all sorts of wild possibilities.
" It might be a snake ; it might be a wildcat
A whine and a pawing at her dress made her
gasp for very joy.
" Duke ! Dear old Duke ! " She raised up
and hufjo^ed him. '' We must find Beth, Duke.
She may be in that burning car there." Her
voice was still broken with sobs, and Duke
whined as if he shared her fear.
'N'ever, as long as she lived, did Marian forget
22 A Maid of the Mountains
the awful uncertainty of that time. For a moment
she was ho^ieful. By the light of the flames she
saw that some of the rear coaches were still on
the track and one of them was half on and half
off, and from these cars the fortunate sleeping-car
passengers were coming forth, bruised and well
scared, but with little real injury.
Marian, forgetful of sprained ankle and bruises,
limped over to the nearest man. Duke watched
her actions anxiously.
" Can you tell me where to find the day
coach ? " she asked hardly able to speak distinctly
because of her sobs.
" It's tumbled down into the ditch there. The
engine, the baggage cars and the day coach all
went over, and they're burning up now."
For an instant Marian feared she was going to
faint. Everything went round and round with
her, and she experienced such a terribly sickening
sensation that she grasped Duke to save herself
The man had a family of his own to see to, but
his heart went out in sympathy to this young girl
whose manner bespoke trouble.
"Is there anything I can do for you?" he
"Words were impossible to Marian at that in-
stant, besides which she felt that there was no help
for Beth, that she was beyond human aid ; so
Marian only looked at the man blankly and shook
The Accident 23
her head. Whereupou he left her believing that
the horror of the wreck accounted for her
Marian sank down on her knees beside Duke
too much overcome for the moment for further
"You'll never see Beth again, Duke," she
sobbed. " She's burning to death."
The dog whined and caught at her dress as
if he would have her move on again. Such
action aroused a little hope within her.
*' Perhaps there is some way to save her," she
murmured struggling to her feet. " We'll see,
Duke. Beth must not burn. We inust save her."
She still was so weak that if Duke had not
walked patiently beside her, letting her cling to
him, she would have fallen again before reaching
the far side of the track, overlooking the ditch
where the wrecked cars lay in such a confused
mass that Marian felt more helpless than ever.
To find Beth in that awful, burning wreckage
seemed an almost hopeless undertaking.
Duke, she felt, was her only hope ; but so
greatly did she dread that he might not under-
stand what she wanted that had any other help
been offered, she would have discarded the aid
of the faithful dog. In fact she looked all
around for other help before appealing to him.
Then not until he, impatient of delay, caught at
her dress again did she make her appeal to him.
24 A Maid of the Mountains
" Duke," she sobbed and her heart beat so con-
vulsively that to tell him what she wished was
very hard. " Beth 's somewhere there — in the car
— the one where she took you this afternoon.
Find her, or " Possibly her breaking down
told more to the faithful dog than words.
He whined, looked up at her an instant, and
then bounded down the ditch. Marian hobbled
after him as best she could. She stumbled
several times but managed to keep her feet.
Duke waited only to assure himself that Marian
was following. He gave no heed to the people
who were running hither and thither in the
darkness with small wit for action. The terror
of wreck and fire had overmastered them. Duke,
however, seemed to know exactly what was re-
quired of him. He hurried so fast toward the
dismantled cars that Marian had great difficulty
in keeping up with him. Only once did he wait
for a word from her. Just before they reached
the wreck, he paused for her to overtake him,
then he looked from her toward the flames and
" Yes, Duke, Beth's there. Find Beth, Duke."
Whereupon, either because he scented the
whereabouts of his dear mistress, or because he
had been in the car, or, as Marian believed,
because a higher power guided him in answer to
her praj^er, he made his way direct to the dis-
mantled day coach, and, settling down, set up a
The Accident 25
howl. He knew that they now needed outside
aid, but onlv Marian was near to heed.
" Oh, Duke," she sobbed, " we can't get in there.
Beth'll burn. Oh, oh, oh ! "
For a moment fear paralyzed all action with
her. Duke never ceased howling an instant and
then it came to her that if she called it might
" Some one come and save my sister ! She's
here burning up ! Come ! come ! " Her cries and
Duke's persistent howling brought people to the
" My sister — save her ! " was all Marian could
" Where is she ? " demanded a man.
" Eight in there, I think," and she pointed to
the burning car.
" Here's an axe. We'll soon have her out if
she's there," and they went to work to save
human life if possible.
Mr. and Mrs. Davenport, unsuccessful in their
search, heard Duke howl and Marian call and
rushed to find out the meaning of the summons.
" Oh, mamma, Beth must be in there. Just
see the way Duke acts." Marian pointed ex-
citedly toward the man with the axe.
Close beside him stood Duke, very careful not
to get in the way. Now that every effort was
being made toward the deliverance of his beloved
mistress, his howling ceased, but he waited with
26 A Maid of the Mountains
muscles tense, sniffing the air as if hounding
Mr. Davenport immediately went to help in
the work of rescue. Marian clung to her mother
and would not loosen her hold.
" I must go to Beth ; I must go," Mrs. Daven-
" There's nothing we can do to help, mamma.
Let's ask God to save Beth. He'll not let her
burn, I know."
The girl's faith had a quieting effect on the
distracted mother, who, notwithstanding her
frenzy of fear, realized that at the present mo-
ment she would only be in the way, and so she
prayed over and over :
" God save Beth. God save Beth."
While the two prayed, their eyes never turned
from the burning wreck. Though the men
worked with almost superhuman strength, it
seemed to Mrs. Davenport that if only she had an
axe she could do better than they, notwithstand-
ing her physical disadvantage.
" Oh, why do they not hurry ? " she moaned.
" They must hurry."
Nearer and nearer every instant crept the
flames, and if it had not been for the water-soaked
condition of the cars, the brave rescuers would
have had little chance of success, for even as it
was, the flying cinders showered down all around
them, sometimes badly scorching them.
" I can't stand the heat," cried the man with
" Give it to me,'' demanded Mr. Davenport, but
one of the railroad employees seized the axe, and
went to work with such herculean strength that
Beth's father was content seeing how strong the
new man was.
But the flames too were getting fiercer. They
hissed out at the wet wood, and with their deadly,
fiery touch licked up the water, after which all
within reach was easy prey before their deadly
A sudden shout caused Mrs. Davenport's heart
almost to stop beating.
" Thank God ; thank God," she murmured, but
the next instant she was less hopeful.
Even though the car could now be entered,
flames so encircled the opening that fear seized
upon all present, holding them back from enter-
ing the car.
" We must save Beth," cried the distracted
mother, loosening Marian's hold to rush toward
But faithful Duke was ahead of her. Into the
burning coach he bounded while at his side went
Mr. Davenport. Immediately others followed.
Mrs. Davenport, herself, would have rushed on
into the burning car had she not been stopped.
" Oh, let me go," she implored feeling that she
could not endure longer the agony of inaction.
28 A Maid of the Mountains
" I must go. Oh, will they ever bring Beth
out ? "
The moments she was kept in suspense seemed
an eternity to her.
Then through the smoke she beheld Mr. Daven-
port with faithful Duke close at his heels emerge
from the opening. PiX first she was so blinded
by tears that she could not see if their quest had
been rewarded ; but when she groped her way
to them,^ there in her husband's arms was her
child. So overjoyed was she at this vision that
her little remaining strength almost gave way.
Then an overwhelMing fear clutched at her
" She lives, tell me that she lives," she sobbed.
Duke turned to Marian and whined. If he
could have spoken, he would have said :
" I knew what you wanted, didn't I ? We
found her very near where I led you. I was sure
she was there."
Marian broke down completely. She knelt
beside him, and throwing her arms about him
sobbed as if her heart would break.
" Dear, dear Duke, if Beth " she could not
Duke licked her hand as much as to say,
" Don't grieve. We've saved her," and Marian
was comforted by his silent sympathy.
Maggie, the Davenports' trusted servant, had
their new home on the hill lighted from top to
bottom. Although she had already done every-
thing possible to make the house appear most at-
tractive, every now and then she poked the. fires
afresh and rearranged the flowers in the different
" They sholy ought to be hyere," she muttered.
" It jes' do seem as how I can't wait to see little
missy's face. She'll be dat pleased dat she'll hug
me mos' to death. She "
Footsteps sounded on the porch, but they were
Maggie's face beamed. " Dat's Missy Beth,
sho'. She's tryin' k> sneak in so's to fool her ole
mammy. She's made de odders wait while she
tries to fool me. Dat chile am up to all manner
ob tricks." She chuckled to herself all the
while she was hurrying to swing open the front
door, *' I'll pretend not to know her. I'll say,
' See hyere, yo' little stranger, yo' ; what yo'
doin' up hyere at dis gran' house ? ' I'll teach
her to play tricks on her ole mammy dat jes'
dotes on her."
32 A Maid of the Mountains
As Maggie reached the door a timid knocking
sounded upon the outside. She swung the door
impressively open, and looking up instead of
down began :
" See hyere, yo' little stranger, yo' ; what
" I 'lowed as how yer hain't heard. I cum to
tell yer," piped out a strange voice trembling
both from excitement and bashfulness.
So dumbfounded was Maggie that she stared
down at the stranger without saying a word.
At first sight the superstitious colored woman
felt as if wind and storm had brought an elf to
her door. A little thing with shoulders slightly
stooped, as if too heavy burdens had been placed
thereon, stood looking up appealingly into the
black face above, generally most kind but now
stern from doubt and disappointment.
" I done feel creepy when I looked on dat
chile firs'," Maggie confessed afterward. "An'
it done make me cross to de pooh little thing. I
had a predominate " — she meant premonition —
"dat somethin' ter'ble was comin', an' I snapped
out at her, ' What yo' want ? Who am yo'
anyhow ? ' so dat she jes' jumped scared-like an'
bust into tears. Den I knowed she wuz human
an' I drew her inside to close out de storm."
Once inside Maggie eyed the child critically.
Judged by size, the stranger might have been
twelve, but the careworn face, its natural pale-
The Home-Coming 33
ness intensified now bv the occurrences of the
night, made her seem more like a girl of eighteen.
Tears were still rolling down from her great blue
eyes although she was trying hard to suppress
them, and she stood nervously twisting her faded
calico dress which clung limply wet to her shiver-
ing little figure.
" Who am yo', chile ? " demanded Maggie
again but a little more kindly.
" Hump," thought Maggie to herself, " what
does a mountain chile want with a gran', high-
falutin' name like dat, but I reckon none ob de
pooh white trash has much sense noways ! "
" Have yer hearn of the wreck ? " asked Carol.
Maggie actually turned pale, and grasped Carol
roughly by the arm so that the child winced.
" Wreck ? What yo' mean, chile ? Speak."
" The train from Spartanburg "
That was all Maggie heard. She threw her
arms wildly above her head and broke forth into
" Oh, my honey lambs, dey am killed shure !
God let dis ole black heart break too, fur if dey
am dead dere am nothin' to lib fur. Oh, God,
save us, save us."
" Yer folks may not be hurt," cried Carol
sympathetically. " All I know is that they've
sent up to Henderson ville fur a train an' doctors.
I wuz down huntin' up my paw when I hearn of
34 -A Maid of the Mountains
the wreck. We uns live down in the hollow on
yer place, an' I knowed 'bout yer folks comin'
to-night so I runned to tell yer 'bout the wreck."
At this moment the man who had been sent
down to drive the family up the hill returned
and confirmed Carol's story. Maggie lost her
head completely. She sank down all in a heap
on the nearest rocker, and, howling and moaning
wildly, swayed back and forth with no thought
for action. Carol waited awhile longing to com-
fort the poor old black mammy, but finally, see-
ing no way in which she could help, went unob-
served out into the stormy night.
She was undecided whether to return home, or
to go down to the station, there to wait around
to see if she could learn anything more. So
interested was she in the family coming to the
hill that she forgot that her mother had sent
her out to hunt up her father. This interest
finally landed her at the station again.
" If the cars had gone out on the trestle and
then over, not a soul would have escaped. I'm
told the wreck occurred just the other side of the
trestle," Carol heard a man say.
The trestle was only a mile or two away, Carol
knew, and she was tempted to run down to the
scene of disaster, but at that instant she saw the
village doctor on horseback prepared to ride
to the assistance of the wounded. Immediately
Carol ran breathlesslv after him. She did not
The Home-Coming 35
feel basil ful with him because he had been most
kind to her own folks on many occasions.
"Doctah, doctah," she called out in distress
for fear she could not overtake him.
The wind was blowing his way so that he
heard her call and recognized the voice, but at
first was tempted not to stop. However he liked
Carol and so called back impatiently :
"You must not delay me, Carol, unless it's
She rushed panting up beside his horse.
" Hit's 'bout the people on the hill. They're
in the wreck, an' "
"I know," he interrupted hastily. "Mr.
Davenport sent word for me to come when they
sent word to Spartanburg. I must hurry."
She longed to ask questions ; to know what to
expect, but putting her own curiosity aside, said :
" Is thar anythin' could be done up at their
place ? If they uns air hurt "
He had not thought of any preparations at
this end, but in an instant saw the wisdom of her
" Yes, Carol, you are right. In the first place
we need a wagon with a good soft mattress
at the station. Do you think you can see to
having one there by the time the rescue train
returns ? It is very important, but I should not
stop to "
" I'll tell um up at the house, an' we'll have hit
36 A Maid of the Mountains
sure," she interrupted, feeling the importance of
" That's a good girl, Carol," the doctor called
as he galloped away.
From the moment Carol had heard that the
house on the hill was to be occupied for the
summer she had been interested ; and when she
found that two girls were coming she was more
interested than ever. There had been little time
or chance for pleasure in her young life, but she
was always dreaming dreams of what might
happen. These dreams were about all that gave
color to her life, and the coming of the Daven-
ports had taken hold of her imagination in a
particularly vivid way. In spite of the vast
difference in their social position, she had im-
agined herself a friend, a great friend, at least of
one of the girls. This make-believe friendship
was as beautiful as a fairy story to her, but very
real also. So when she heard of the wreck, she
felt very badly, and now was delighted because
she could do something for her unknown little
She flew back up the hill with a much lighter
heart than when she came down.
She knocked at the door a second time with
much more assurance.
Again Maggie answered her call hoping for
" Yo' hyere 'gin," said Maggie disappointedly.
The Home-Coming 37
" The doctah sent me," announced Carol breath-
lessly, and her face was so much brighter that
Maggie herself began to feel more cheerful.
The colored mammy was delighted to have
something to do for her loved ones, and after
learning the girl's mission felt more kindly dis-
posed toward Carol, although in her thought she
had no use for " pooh white trash " as she termed
those of Carol's class. Together they attended
to getting the wagon and fitting it out as the
Carol hoped that she might be asked to ride
down to the train, but Maggie had no such idea.
'' I'm goin' down to meet um. Yo' kin run
'long now," she said to Carol, and added grudg-
ingly, "I has to thank yo' fer what yo' has done."
*' I was glad to do anythin' fer " Carol al-
most said " her " but added " um," remembering
that the colored woman did not know about her
" She will know in time," she thouo^ht sadlv as
Maggie departed without her, " and then she'll be
nicer to me."
To Maggie the hardest part of this trying
night was waiting for the rescue train. While
she longed to have it come, she dreaded that it
might only mean new sorrow to her. And finally
when she beheld the gleam of the oncoming
engine, it struck new terror to her soul.
" It do look like an eye ob death," she thought,
38 A Maid of the Mountains
and as the train came to a standstill, and she
went aboard, her look was very mournful. But
the black, tearful face appeared almost angelic to
Mrs. Davenport and Marian.
" O Maggie," sobbed Marian.
" Oh, my precious honey lambs. Thank de
good Lawd," and Maggie, crying and laughing in
the same breath, gathered both Mrs. Davenport
and Marian to her motherly bosom. Then she
noted Beth, so very white and still that for a
moment she thought the child was dead. J^ever
had she been so overcome. She gasped for breath
and the next instant a piercing cry escaped her.
" Hush, Maggie, hush," cautioned Mrs. Daven-
port. " The doctor says she'll be all right in time.
Unless " she could not add as he had, *' unless
there's some internal injury." She would not
think anything so terrible possible.
Maggie knelt beside her little mistress and
tears rained down her cheeks.
" My own honey lamb," she moaned. " Yo'
mustn't die. I needs yo', honey." Beth's heavy
lids flickered and then slowly opened. No con-
scious word had passed her lips since the accident,
although she had muttered sometimes incoher-
"Maggie, my dear good Maggie," she mur-
mured and added as if her mind was not dwelling
on the accident, " "We've brought Duke with us,
Maggie. We'll have lots of fun."
The Home-Coming 39
" Of co'se, honey lamb," said the old mammy.
Tenderly Maggie lifted Beth and helped carry
her from the train to the mattress provided in
the waiting wagon.
The doctor accompanied the family up the hill
to their new home. The home-coming was very
different from what had been planned ; but the
almost miraculous escape from death, which had
been very near them all so short a while back,
and faithful Maggie's loving care lightened the
Beth was taken up-stairs to the front wing of
the house into a large room opening on wide
" This is so nice," she murmured, only half
conscious as they placed her on the bed. " I'm ,
glad we have Maggie."
Tears, welling up again, trickled down the
black cheeks. " Law, honey, not anyways near
so glad as I dat I has my honey gal."
Then the faithful soul, fearful that she might
break down completely, hurried over to the fire-
place and poked the logs that she had lighted to
give such cheer as possible. The flames shot up
casting wierd lights over the floor and walls.
" Dey jes' can't send me out ob dis room dis
night," she muttered to herself. " Miss Mary
needs rest, an' I'm sholy de one to watch. I'll
jes' tell de doctah how it am."
She waited with beating heart until he was
40 A Maid of the Mountains
through with Beth for the night, and then whis-
pered to him, *' Tell Miss Mary, doctah, dat ole
Maggie's de one to stay hyere dis night. Yo's
seen, hasn't yo', dat I'se to be trusted ? "
He nodded his head in quick approval, having
noted how she anticipated his needs.
" Mrs. Davenport, your old mammy wishes to
watch your child to-night, and I approve," he
said, and when he saw that she Avas about to
demur added, " It is positively necessary for you
to husband your strength. Beth will need care
for the next month or so."
Mrs. Davenport's heart sank. " A month or
two for my active Beth," she thought. " It will
be terrible for her, but then it might have been
so much worse. I suppose the doctor's right
about Maggie's watching to-night. I know she'll
take as good care of Beth as I would myself."
" All right, Maggie," she said aloud, "you may
Maggie's face expressed her pleasure. She
quietly moved over to the bed and seated herself.
" De honey lamb is sleepin'," she whispered to
Mrs. Davenport. " She'll sholy be bettah when
" And you'll call me, Maggie, if she wants
" Of co'se, an' yo' nebbeh knowed me to break
my word, has yo' ? "
" No, never, Maggie. God bless and keep you,
The Home-Coming 41
my precious," she murmured as she stooped over
Beth. Then she turned to go.
'' Maggie," she whispered at the door, " Duke's
here. Perhaps you'd better take him down to the
kitchen and lock him up for the night. He
might disturb Beth."
After her departure, Maggie hesitated. " It
do seem a perfect shame aftah he's been an' saved
her life. He won't 'sturb her, I knows. Didn't
he watch outside her door down in Floridah
when she had de fevah, an' nebbeh onct 'sturbed
her ? No 'deed, for she liked him dar. I reckon
Miss Mary done disrecoUected dat for if she
hadn't, she'd have let him stay, too." Where-
upon she reseated herself.
An hour passed in perfect silence. Then a
quiet pawing at the door announced that Duke
had wakened. Maggie rose to quiet him.
Beth's eyes opened. They appeared more natu-
ral looking than at any time since the accident.
" What is it, Maggie ? "
Maggie's heart fluttered. She felt guilty. " I
was done tole to lock Duke in de kitchen for de
night, but I jes' hadn't de heart to do it. I'll go
an' lock him up dis minute, howsomever."
" No, no, Maggie. I want him in here. Bring
Maggie gladly did as bidden.
" Now, Duke, yo' mustn't bodder her," she
cautioned at the threshold.
42 A Maid of the Mountains
He eyed her reproachfully, gave one loving
look toward the bed, then stalked majestically
over to the fireplace, and settled down there for
" He's a dear fellow, Maggie," Beth murmured,
" a very dear dog. I love him."
" She done love ev'body an' ev'thin'," thought
Maggie as her charge sank back to sleep. " She's
de lovin'est chile I ebbeh knowed. If she'd been
killed dis ole heart ob mine done cracked in a
thousan' pieces. Dat's what."
At that very moment Duke looked around at
her, and Maggie noted an unusually soft glow in
" He's thinkin' de same thing, I reckon. I jes'
specs he loves her as much as I do, if dat's possi-
Every hillside and valley around Tremont was
abloom. The May air had a June balminess
which, as it floated through the open windows to
Beth, made her more restless than ever.
" Tell me about the mountains and the
flowers," she demanded wearily of Marian who
was seated in the room with her. " It's dread-
ful to be in here when it's so beautiful outside,"
and she sank down among the pillows piled up
back of her and sighed. Then she shook her
head so vigorously that her curls of brown flew
all about her flushed face in wildest confusion.
" I suppose I ought to be thankful every minute
that I wasn't killed, or that I didn't lose my legs
or something else even more dreadful. Am I a
terribly ungrateful girl, Marian ? "
" ]^o, dear ; I think you bear being shut up
beautifully. We all think so."
Beth's heart lightened although she felt unde-
serving of such unstinted praise. " Let me see.
How long is it since I was hurt ? Over a month,
isn't it ? "
" Yes, it was the last of March when we
4^ A Maid of the Mountains
" And I'm to be taken down-stairs to-morrow,
but I'm afraid it will be some time before I'm
out again. This last waiting is the hardest. I
wish Harvey and Julia were here. It wouldn't
be so bad then."
Marian smiled. " How many times have you
wished for them since you were hurt ? "
Beth looked over at her whimsicallv. " I
couldn't possibly count. It's been many more
times than I've told."
In thinking of her two friends, Beth forgot
the outside world, and was so quiet that Marian
thought she had fallen asleep. So thought some
one else listening outside. The door opened very
" Is she asleep, Marian ? " came in a whisper
from the half open door.
Marian rushed over to the door, for a glance
at the bed had shown her that Beth was still
" Hush, hush," Beth heard her sister caution,
and then Marian slammed the door behind her.
Beth was indignant and also wildly curious.
" Marian, come back," she called.
" Yes, Beth, I'm coming in a minute," but she
waited so long that Beth again called her.
" Marian, do come. I think it's awfully mean
of you to leave me here alone ! "
In answer Marian opened the door, but only
The Surprise 47
^* Who's with you, Marian ? "
Marian made no answer, but when she reen-
V^tered the room her face was unusually flushed,
and her eyes sparkled. A smile hovering around
her mouth made Beth still more curious, but she
was given no chance to repeat her question.
" Beth, you ought to be asleep this minute."
" She doesn't want to answer. There is some-
thing going on," thought Beth. Then she said
aloud, " Marian, who "
" Mamma'll blame me for keeping you awake,"
Marian rattled on choosing a seat with her back
toward Beth. " If you keep on getting excited
over nothing like you do, you'll not be able to go
down-stairs to-morrow, and "
Beth raised herself on her elbow. Her eyes
sparkled too. She did not intend to be fooled
" Marian, it sounded like Julia talking."
" Why, Beth, the very idea," Marian only half
turned her head. " Once to-day you thought you
heard Harvey talking, and now you imagine you
hear Julia. You've them so on your mind that
you even take mamma for them."
" Was mamma really and truly out there just
now ? "
"Oh," sighed Beth disappointedly. "Well,"
settling herself once more on the pillows, " tell
me about the mountains, and I'll go to sleep."
48 A Maid of the Mountains
^' I didn't have to tell there was some one else
out there too," thought Marian. She now faced
Beth. " You've already heard all about papa's
and my trip up Tremont Mountain."
" Named after a revolutionary hero," supple-
mented Beth sleepily.
" Oh, Beth, you should have been with us yester-
day afternoon," Marian's eyes sparkled. " We
went only a short way, but it w^as the nicest ride
I ever had. Did I tell you how the Rocky Spur
road curves around and around ? At first you see
the mountains only on the right, but below is the
railroad winding up the valley. We took short
cuts which were so steep that I held my breath
for fear the horses would tumble backward. The
valley beyond Piney was suddenly right before
us, but I didn't look down much, for towering
beyond us was Hogback."
Beth's eyes that were beginning to droop
opened wide. " I can't help smiling whenever I
hear that name. Does the mountain really look
like a hog's back ? "
" If you've a good imagination. But, Beth,
you're not going to sleep, as you promised."
" I'm more anxious to see Melrose Falls than
any place else. You know papa promised that
we may camp there when I'm well."
So happy was Beth thinking of camp life that
she soon fell asleep. Then she dreamed a beauti-
ful dream. Her room was transformed into a
The Surprise 49
bower of green — almost like the woods for which
she so pined. The rustling of the boughs, the
refreshing smell of evergreen and wild flowers
enravished her senses. Kever had she experi-
enced such a real dream.
"It's strange,'' she thought half awake, but
with her eyes still closed, " I'm awake now, and I
still smell evergreens and flowers."
" She's stirring. We must hide in the closet
and march out as planned." It was Marian's
whispering that Beth heard. People on tiptoe
seemed to be flying from different corners of the
room, and some one giggled.
"Just like Julia. I'm not awake," decided
Beth, and wishing for her dream to go on as long
as possible she would not try to open her eyes.
She almost feared to stir again so intent was she
on having the dream continue.
For a moment all was still. Then once more
there was a tiptoeing.
" She's falling asleep again. What shall we
do ? Shall we waken her ? "
The voice was surely Harvey's, and Beth
wished she could waken and really see him.
"Let's pretend that she's a fairy queen. It
would please her." The voice belonged to Julia
now, and the muffled tread of feet came nearer.
" Are you talking about me ? I do think it
would be great fun to be a fairy queen." Beth
said the words aloud without really intending to
50 A Maid of the Mountains
do so, but everything was so very real that just
thinking of things did not suit the occasion.
" We all come to serve Beth, our fairy queen,"
and with the chorus of voices Duke barked, which
was so unmistakably lifelike that Beth opened
her eves. Then she rubbed them vio:orouslv.
" Oh, Julia ! Oh, Harvey ! " she gasped. " Am
I really and truly awake ? Are you really you ?
Oh, if only it's true ! Come here and let me feel
you to make sure.''
A girl and a boy, about thirteen and fourteen
years of age, were almost within reach. Harvey,
the boy, was looking right at Beth with his
honest, kindly eyes aglow with affection. The
girl, Julia, was acting just like her own dear self.
Hardly still an instant, she danced around and
around the bed, and clapped her hands, crying :
" It's a perfect surprise ! You like being a
fairy queen, don't you, Beth ? "
Beth held her arms wide open. " Come over
here, dear, and I'll show you how much I like
Julia rushed over and kissed her, not once, but
a dozen times. And Harvey squeezed her hand so
hard that it actually ached, but she did not mind
in the least.
Beyond Harvey and Julia, Beth saw her
mother and father and sister Marian, with Duke
by her side.
She smiled at them all lovingly, then her eyes
" How Well You Look in Your Cadet Uniform
The Surprise 51
took in the transformation that had been wrought
in her room. In one short hour it had been
converted into a perfect bower, just like her
dream. Great garlands of evergreens were fes-
tooned all over the wall ; luxuriant boughs of
hardy rhododendrons, and daintier ones of moun-
tain laurel had been placed wherever there was
room ; in vases were wild honeysuckle and other
sweet-scented flowers. There were no lamps
lighted, but the rosy glow from the declining sun
made everything more fairy like.
" Oh, oh ! " sighed Beth ecstatically. " I can
hardly believe even yet that I'm awake."
" Of course you're awake," cried Marian, her
tone almost as joyful as Beth's. " Haven't you
made me almost lie to you two or three times to-
day ? You did hear Harvey, and Julia was out-
side with mamma, but I wouldn't tell you al-
though I was just dying to. We'd worked so
hard to surprise you, it wouldn't have been fair
to spoil the others' fun, especially when Harvey
and Julia had come so far to visit us."
Mention of her two friends drew Beth's eyes to
them once more. '' Harvey Baker, how you've
grown," she exclaimed, her eyes glistening. She
was hysterically happy. " You've grown an inch
or two in the last month and how well you look
in your cadet uniform."
He drew himself up to his full height.
"What do you expect, young lady, that we'll
52 A Maid of the Mountains
stand still? You're not in your teens like the
rest of us. You know I attend a Military
She made a face at him. " Well, I don't
care, I'm growing, too. You'll be surprised
when you see me stand up. I'm very much
taller than Julia, even if she is a year older
" Never mind," retorted Julia, " when you're
ready to climb trees again, you'll envy me.
Being small helps me to get around faster."
" No one will deny that," agreed Marian.
" You should have seen her flying around, Beth,
getting this room ready. She wasn't still an in-
" Neither were the rest of you," declared
" Whose idea was it ? " questioned Beth.
" Your mother's," answered Mr. Davenport,
" Oh, mamma," sighed Beth rapturously, cast-
ing a very loving look her mother's way.
" You mustn't give me all the credit, Beth.
Just wait until you see the presents they all have
** Presents ? Presents for me ? I don't know
why so many grand things are happening. It's
not my birthda3\"
" We're celebrating because we're so thankful
that you were spared to us and because you'll
The Surprise 53
soon be up now. That's even better than a
" 'Cose it am, Missy Beth," cried a voice in the
Beth turned suddenly, doubtful of her hearing.
" Gustus— you, too ? It's really too good to
The darky lad in the doorway swelled visibly
with pride. " No, it ain't. Missy Beth. Miss
Mary she sent foh me 'cose my little mistress
done be spared from de jaws ob death. She
'lowed as how you'd be pleased."
" I'm delighted, Gustus."
His eyes sparkled. " I done fetched somethin'
all de way from Florida foh yo'. I'll run an*
fetch it here."
*' I must bring in my present, too," cried
Julia, rushing after him.
" Here's your doll. I made the new clothes
for it," said Marian handing Beth's doll to her.
But her ladyship appeared so fine that for a
moment Beth hardly recognized her old play-
mate. She examined the finery reverently, too
pleased to speak. Then she cried out :
" Oh, — a broadcloth coat with real fur ! A
hat with feathers ! A pink silk dress, and pink
stockings and shoes to match ! Oh, and such
fine underclothing I never saw ! Marian, you're
the best sister in all the world."
" See what Harvey has in his pocket for you,"
54 -^ ilfarc/ of the Mountains
cried Marian, who was as greatly excited as
Beth. She was wild for the time to come to
speak of her father's present, but that was to be
reserved for the last.
Beth's eyes were now riveted on Harvey's
coat pocket. " What's in there, Harvey ? It's
He took from the pocket in question a tiny
gray squirrel, and placed it in his little friend's
Beth ran her hand lovingly over the soft fur
of her new pet. " Oh, Harvey, I've always
wanted a squirrel. How did you know ? "
" I remembered your once saying you wanted
The squirrel accepted Beth as his mistress
quite readily, and snuggled down in the bed-
clothes beside her.
Beth's attention was attracted from the squir-
rel by the entrance of Julia with a covered cage
in her hand. Quickly the cover was removed,
and a burst of sweet song followed.
" A mocking-bird, how lovely ! " cried Beth
rapturously. " It makes me feel as if I were
back in Florida."
" An' dis kitten ob yo's dat I fetched all de way
from Florida'll make it seem moah homelike,"
cried Gust us, who had followed behind Julia.
" How nice of you, Gustus." She really was
pleased with the kitten, but she had so much to
TTie Surprise SS
think about that she had no time to play with
it now. In the new excitement, she forgot for a
moment about the squirrel. But when she
started to put the kitten under the covers, not
knowing how else to dispose of it, the squirrel
awakened, so greatly frightened that it sprang
out and ran to the foot of the bed where it
perched on the foot-board, chattering and show-
ing its teeth. Gustus sprang after it, but at his
approach the squirrel darted farther away, land-
ing on top of a rocker. Gustus still pursued,
whereupon the squirrel sprang over on Harvey's
shoulder, and, turning upon Gustus, showed its
teeth even more than it had a moment before,
scolding away in true squirrel fashion.
Gustus's eyes rolled until only the whites
showed, and his sides shook from good-natured
"Ho, ho, ho ! How do dat little imp know Pse
black? It wouldn't be 'fraid ob me if I wuz white
like you all. Jes' hear 'im. Him says, ' Gustus,
yoh black niggah yob, don't yoh come near me.
I don't like yo' black skin. I likes white folks.' "
Beth feared that Le might feel hurt notwith-
standing his laughter.
" He'll get used to you soon, Gustus."
*' Get used to a black boy like me ? I reckon
not. Missy Beth. 'Pears like dey nebbeh do like
black folks. Ho, ho, ho ! Jes' hear 'im keep on
56 A Maid of the Mountains
The opening of the door interrupted him.
Maggie poked her turbaned head into the room.
" Suppeh's all ready, if yoh all's ready foh it."
Beth's face fell. She hated to have them leave
her even for a short while, but she would utter
no word of complaint because they had all been
so good to her. She turned her face toward the
wall so that they might not see that she felt
Quite a bustling in the room followed. Curi-
osity overcame Beth's momentary bad feelings,
and she looked to see what was going on. Two
tables, already set for supper, had been brought
in and placed together. Yases of flowers, real
roses brought all the way from Florida, adorned
the tables, and chairs were being drawn around
the festal board.
" Oh, are you going to eat in here ? " ques-
"Yes, 'deed, honey," answered Maggie who
had just reentered, carrying a great platter of
fried chicken. Behind her came Gustus with the
sweet potatoes and hot biscuits. " I 'lowed as
how our little queen'd like* to have company for
supper dis night."
" I guess I really am a fairy queen," murmured
Beth as the others seated themselves. For a mo-
ment or two she was in such an ecstatic frame of
mind that she hardly realized that she was still
on earth. Then as the covers were lifted from
The Surprise 57
the steaming dishes, earthly desires once more
took possession of her.
" I'm hungry, I want something to eat," she
"Yoh done has de fust helpin', honey," de-
clared Maggie, carrying a tray full of dainties
that she had prepared herself, and which she
placed on a pillow in front of Beth. Never did
Beth enjoy a meal more than the one that night.
A single incident alone marred their pleasure,
and even that had its ludicrous side.
" Look out, Mary, there's one of those yellow
jackets that stung you this noon," said Mr. Daven-
port as the table was being cleared for dessert.
*' Gustus, try to drive it out."
Gustus, who was waiting on the table, had
just removed an almost empty plate of honey,
and, without stopping to set it down, picked up a
duster with his free hand, and began chasing the
" You'd better look out, Gustus, it may sting
you, and then you'll find it no laughing matter
as you did when I was stung this noon."
"Were you stung, mamma, and did Gustus
laugh ? "
" Yes, Beth. I didn't tell you about it at the
time because we didn't want you to know that
Gustus was here."
Gustus stopped his wild chase a moment. His
thick lips expanded into a great smile. " She
58 A Maid of the Mountains
vvuz powerful funny, Missy Beth. I jes' couldn't
keep from laughin'."
" Gustus was the funny one, Beth," declared
Marian, loyal to her mother. " Papa sent him
out for some mud as it's good for a hornet's sting,
and Gustus, after being gone the longest time,
came back without any. He said he couldn't
find any mud ; he hadn't sense enough to know
that dirt and water make mud."
To escape the laugh that followed, Gustus
rushed from the room.
" I think he succeeded in getting the hornet
out. It's nowhere around," said Mr. Davenport.
" Ow, ow, ow," yelled Gustus outside. Then
he hopped back into the room, and danced round
and round. Great tears rolled down his black
face, and his thick upper lip was fast swelling to
twice its size.
" It's jedgment on me," he cried between his
howls. " I jes' shouldn't have laughed at Miss
Mary. I'll nebbeh, nebbeh, so long as I lib, laugh
at any one in mis'ry agin. Ret'bution is sure to
overtake one, de minister done tole us dat, an' I
ought have known bettah dan to have laughed.
Ow, ow ! "
" It's honey that took the hornet to your lips.
You shouldn't have licked the dish," admonished
He ceased his capers for a moment. " I 'clah
to goodness dat "
The Surprise 59
" Gustus, be careful," warned Beth. " Your
lips are sticky still, and it's worse to lie than it is
He rolled his eyes tragically. "Well — well,
Missy Beth, I don't jes' see how it did happen,
but some way, 'fob I knowed it, dat dish did get
up some disaccountable way right by my mouth,
an' I did taste somethin' like honey. De dish
wuz mos' empty anyhow."
Mrs. Davenport, from her own experience, knew
that Gustus must really be suffering. " You've
been punished sufficiently, I think, so that you'll
not let dishes get up to your lips again, Gustus.
Go down now and see if Maggie can suggest
anything to help you. We'll wait a moment for
the ice cream and cake."
While waiting, Beth propped her doll up beside
her. The kitten had fallen asleep at the foot
of the bed ; the squirrel held undisputed sway
under the bedclothes ; the mocking-bird slept in
its cage, and Duke was patiently waiting for
Maggie to call him below for his supper. Beth
smiled from sheer happiness.
" I have a pretty fine family now, haven't I ?
I don't believe any one has any nicer pets."
Marian looked toward her father who nodded
his head as if giving her permission to say some-
"You have one pet, Beth, that you know
nothing about. Ask papa about it."
6o A Maid of the Mountains
Beth looked inquiringly toward her father.
" Have you something for me, too ? "
" Yes, dear," he assured her with a loving
" Guess what it is, Beth," cried Marian and
Harvey and Julia almost in the same breath. To
their minds this was the great surprise of the
Beth shook her head. "I can't guess. It
seems to me I have everything in the world I
" You'll like it best of all. It will carry you
up the mountains when you're well."
" Not a pony ! " cried Beth, her heart thump-
"No, not a pony, but " Mr. Davenport
drew from his pocket a picture. " Well, you can
see for yourself what it is. We couldn't bring it
in to you, so I took a picture of it as Gustus was
leading it home."
At first glance Beth was disappointed. A
saucy, sturdy mule with ears flopped back was
what she saw.
"In time I may grow to love you, but a
pony would have been much nicer," was her
It was funny, but in the picture the mule
seemed to be disgusted at the idea of her liking
a pony, better than his fine, sturdy self. She
even felt as if he was winking at her, and from
The Surprise 61
that moment, she loved her new possession. The
very impudence of his bearing won her heart.
She hardly knew how to thank her father, and
so she made him come over to her and kissed
him over and over again, murmuring, " Oh, you
dear, good papa ; you dear, good papa ! "
*' So you like him even before you know the
reason why I bought a mule instead of a pony ?
A mule, being so sure footed, will carry you
much more safely over the mountains."
Maggie now entered with the ice cream.
" How's Gustus ? " asked Beth.
"I'se done 'im all up, an' yet he jes' keeps
howlin' an' howlin', an' I can't noways stop 'im."
" Send him up here, and I'll give him a dish of
cream. That'll stop him if anything will," de-
" You all coddle dat chile dreadful," muttered
Mao^Me as she left the room. Ever since Gustus
had been taken into the Davenport family, she
had disciplined the colored boy, whereby he had
profited greatly. She considered it her duty to
appear more strict than she really was.
" Yoh all'll be sho to laugh," sobbed a muffled
voice outside the door a moment later.
" We'll remember how retribution overtakes
one and not laugh," promised Mr. Davenport.
The door opened very cautiously, and Gustus,
more subdued than they had ever seen him,
entered quietly. His mouth and one eye were
62 A Maid of the Mountains
covered by a cloth tied in a bow-knot at the back
of his woolly head. Nobody laughed, but Beth
had to hide her head under the bedclothes to
keep from it, and the others hardly dared look at
" Missy Beth, is yoh laughin' ? "
She emerged from under the covers. "I
wouldn't laugh for the world, Gustus," but a
quiver about the corners of her mouth was not to
Even Gustus indulged in a sickly smile. "I
reckon I am powerful funny wid dis cloth, but it
kinder 'stracts my 'tention. 'Stead ob feelin' all
mouth as I did, I feels all cloth. I jes' couldn't
do widout it now."
There was a merry twinkle in Beth's eyes.
" I suppose you couldn't take it off even to eat a
dish of ice cream."
" Ice cream," repeated Gustus, " ice cream ?
Dat'd 'stract my 'tention more'n any cloth in de
world," and with the words he loosened the
bandage revealing his swollen lip. " Does I look
moah funny now ? "
Beth could not answer truthfully without hurt-
ing his feelings, so she said, " Don't think about
your lip, Gustus. Just take that plate of cream
from papa, and think about that."
This was pleasing advice to him. He chose
a seat in the far corner of the room, and gradu-
The Surprise 63
ally, under the benign influence of the cream,
content once more took possession of him.
" Missy Beth, if it hadn't been foh dat imp ob
darkness, dis'd been one ob de happiest days ob
my life," he muttered as the last drop of the
cream trickled down his throat, " but I don't
even mind de pain now. I jes' 'members how
scrumptious it am to be wid yoh all. An' I'll be
mighty careful not to laugh agin at nobody,
foh if one laughs, it's jes' as de minister 'lowed,
ret'bution's sho to follow."
Beth Meets Carol
On the side porch in a hammock, Beth
propped herself on her elbow for a better view of
the mountains. The sun was shining, but clouds
were settling over the tallest ridges while the blue
haze was deepening. Seen thus the mountains
were even grander than Beth had expected. She
drew in a very deep breath, almost too happy for
words in which to express her joy over being out-
doors once more in such a grand world.
" I hope the clouds don't mean rain," exclaimed
Marian, anxiously scanning the sky.
^' Here comes Gustus," called Julia who had
skipped down to the foot of the piazza steps.
" He's bringing your mule for you to see."
The next instant Beth beheld her mule for the
'' Ain't he scrumptious. Missy Beth ? " called
Gustus, duly proud of the mule's glossy coat of
brown that fairly glistened from much brushing.
To make a good impression, Gustus switched the
mule with a whip.
Not understanding the good intentions of
Gustus, his lordship resented the indignity by
letting fly a pair of hind heels which so surprised
68 A Maid of the Mountains
Gustus that he almost loosened his hold on the
mule. The next moment he chuckled.
" Ho, ho ! He sairtainly am quick in his
hinders, Missy Beth. I'd nebbeh trust my skin
^' He didn't like your whipping him for noth-
ing," answered Beth reprovingly.
" He done must have some style 'bout him,"
muttered Gustus, giving his charge another sly
cut with the whip. This time the mule not
only let his heels fly, but nipped viciously at
Gustus who had to dodge to escape the animal's
" Gustus, you mustn't treat my mule that way,"
said Beth. Then after a moment she added,
" What's his name ? "
He ran his fingers through his woolly locks.
" Ain't no name dat I knows of. Keckon yo'll
have to give 'im one. Missy Beth."
" How would Kicker do ? " inquired Harvey
who had come out in time to witness the mule's
" It wasn't his fault. I'll not have my mule
slandered," cried Beth.
" He knows how to kick anyway. I think
Kicker a good name," persisted Harvey as much
to tease as in earnest.
" And if you didn't want people to know your
meaning, you might call him Rueur," proposed
Marian, who was studying French. " Just the
Beth Meets Carol 69
other day, I read in a story of a * mulet rueur '
and found that it meant a kicking mule."
" I rather like the name, and have half a mind
to call him — what did you say kicker was in
French, Marian ? "
" So you agree, Beth, that Kueur is a kicker ? "
questioned Harvey in hopes of making her eyes
" I didn't really say I'd name him Eueur, but
if I do, it's not for the reason you think."
*' Why is Kueur — the name seems to have fas-
tened upon his muleship already — why do you
call him JRueur then ? " He fully expected one
of her quaint conceits, and was not disappointed.
" I call him Rueur — he really is named now —
because he is to carry me all around the country
and perchance we'll come across strange adven-
tures together." She was garbing her ideas in
the manner of the legends that had been read
her during her imprisonment. " And then
always at the right moment my Knight Rueur
is to kick at the vvrong, but never at the right."
When she saw that her friends were smiling
over her conceit, she added, " Well it was at the
wrong he did kick just now. You can't deny it,
and I'll wager I know Knight Rueur's character
better than you do. I wish I could go forth on
Ruenr this very minute."
Harvey and Marian exchanged glances by
yo A Maid of the Mountains
which means Beth knew there was something
unusual in the air.
" What are you two up to ? "
" If you don't mind, Beth, Harvey and I are
going out riding this afternoon," answered Mar-
ian slightly hesitating.
Beth looked perplexed. "Not both of you on
Rueur ? "
" No, indeed. Papa bought two fine saddle
horses. He and mamma both expect to ride.
Everybody does up here. I'm going to tease
papa to buy me a mule."
" You can ride Rueur whenever you want,
Marian." Try as hard as she would a lump
would rise in her throat so that her voice
showed her emotion.
" If you mind, we'll stay home," offered
" No, no, you must go," she answered, gulping
down the disquieting lump. " It's only that I
want to ride so much myself, but your staying
home wouldn't let me go."
" I'm to stay with you, Beth," said Julia.
For a moment Beth had a struggle to be un-
selfish. The afternoon without any of them did
loom up rather forlorn, and she believed that she
and Julia together could have a fine time ; but,
judging by herself, she knew that Julia would
much rather ride, so she said resolutely :
" Julia, you must go with Marian and Harvey.
Beth Meets Carol 71
You shall ride Rueur. No, I'll not listen to a
word. Go and get ready this minute. I'm
queen, you know, and must be obeyed. Bring
my squirrel back to keep me company, and I
want to see you start."
Not to spoil their pleasure, she appeared smil-
ing before them even when they were all
mounted ready for the departure.
" One, two, three — go," called Beth, perhaps a
Marian and Harvey lightly touched their
steeds with their whips and away they started.
Julia likewise whipped Rueur, whereupon back
on his haunches settled the stubborn mule.
Julia struck harder, which only made Rueur flap
his ears in an impudent manner as much as to
say, " I'm too big to mind a little girl like you."
*' Perhaps if Harvey starts with you, Rueur
will do better," suggested Beth ashamed of the
behavior of her mule.
But the minute the horse approached the mule,
his lordship began to kick, whereupon the horse
bit at Rueur, while both animals flopped back
their ears in an angry manner.
" I — I don't like mules," murmured Julia.
" We'll change," proposed Harvey, and al-
though Julia hated to acknowledge herself
defeated, she was only too glad to escape from
a kicking mule. So in a few moments she was
upon the horse while Harvey mounted the mule.
72 A Maid of the Mountains
Still Kueur refused to budge. Whipping had
no effect, although Harvey was so disgusted
that he lashed the stubborn animal vigorously.
Gustus, alone, was amused over the situation.
He laughed until the tears rolled down his face,
but Beth disapproved of his mirth.
" I'm ashamed of you, Gustus. It's silly to
He suddenly sobered. " I know what dat stub-
born Mr. Mule needs. Massa Harve, yoh wait a
second till I come back," he called running into
As there was small likelihood of Harvey's
being able to start, he ceased from his efforts
and waited to see what Gustus would offer.
" It's horrid to be so stubborn. I'll never be
stubborn again," Beth said to herself.
In a moment Gustus returned dangling a pair
" Ha, ha," he chuckled. " Wid dese, Mr. Mule,
you'll be as meek as Moses."
So it proved. One touch of the spurs to
Eueur's hide, and away he galloped setting the
horses a lively pace. Gustus ran down the pine
road to watch the riders as long as possible.
Beth could not repress a sigh. Pensively she
gazed at the chained squirrel sleeping in the
hammock beside her. In a moment it awakened,
trying to sit up, but was entangled by the chain.
" You poor little thing, you don't like being a
Beth Meets Carol 73
captive any better than I do. I've half a mind
to let you go. I'd miss you, but "
She looked out at the pine trees, noting in
particular one whose limbs touched the side of
the piazza rail.
" First you'd spring up that branch. Perhaps
you'd pause a moment to let me know how
happy you were to be free. Then on and on
you'd bound, oh, so joyously. Maybe you'd find
a playmate." At that moment a human play-
mate was what Beth desired above all else in
the world, so she judged the squirrel's desire
for happiness by her own.
Without further consideration, she slipped the
collar from the small captive's neck. In an
instant it sprang toward the railing as Beth
had foreseen. Immediately repenting of her
kindly impulse, Beth reached out to recapture
the squirrel, but already it was beyond her
grasp, having nimbly climbed up into the tree.
It paused as she had speculated and, cocking its
head, eyed her reproach full v, seeming to say :
*' Even if you are sorry, I thank you," and
then was off like a flash.
" Gustus, come here," cried Beth in distress.
For a wonder he came running in answer.
" Gustus, see my squirrel up there ? If you
catch it, I'll give you a quarter."
His eyes grew big at the offer. " Yoh ain't
'ceivin' me ? "
74 A. Maid of the Mountains
Assured that she was in earnest, he darted
away in pursuit.
" Yer warn't peart-like to let hit go. Squir-
rels be powerful nimble," announced a voice
below, so unexpectedly that Beth jumped.
No human being but Gustus, fast disappearing
down the hill below, was in sight.
" Hit'll starve to death," continued the voice.
" Thar hain't any nuts now, an' hit hain't any
stored up like hit had been wild always."
The unknown one's words made Beth uneasy,
although at the moment curiosity was the upper-
most feeling with her.
" Who are you, any way ? And where are you ? "
" I'm Carol," and out from under the porch the
mountain girl emerged.
" Carol ? " repeated Beth. The name sounded
familiar but she was unable for the moment to
remember where she had heard it.
^' I'm called Carol now, though I wuz named
Ca'line 'cause I wuz born in Ca'lina. Then a
lady she called me Carol 'cause I wuz always
likin' to sing. Maw sometimes calls me Cal."
Beth was not paying much attention to the
explanation. She was studying out where she
had heard the name.
''Oh, I know now!" she exclaimed suddenly.
" You're the girl who told Maggie about the
accident the night I was hurt. She told me
Beth Meets Carol 75
Carol smiled. At first Beth had not thought
her at all good looking, but with a smile her face
lighted up so remarkably that Beth was inclined
to change her opinion.
" You're not like what I expected from what
Maggie said about you," said Beth.
" Yer looks jes'like what I 'spected, only sweeter
like," announced Carol, and then suddenly grew
bashful. jSTot daring to raise her blue eyes, much
as she wished to do so, she twined her fingers in
and out in nervous agitation.
" My name is Beth — or rather Elizabeth Daven-
port." This information was tendered by Beth
to relieve Carol's embarrassment.
Once more Carol smiled, which confirmed Beth
in her thought that a smile did wonders for the
rather wizened face before her.
"Weuns knowed all 'bout yer." Once her
tongue was loosened she found delight in telling
things to Beth. " Day after day, I've hung 'round
hopin' to see yer. I felt ter'ble 'bout the acci-
dent, an' when I seen yer out to-day, I wuz that
joyful that I wuz full of song here," pressing her
heart. "I wanted ter go an' pick flowers fer
yer, but I had to tell yer first how joyful I am."
Such enthusiasm surprised but pleased Beth.
" You are very good to be so interested," she
answered. " Where do you live ? "
" We're neighbors. I live yonder in the holler,
on yer paw's land. My paw worked on shares
76 A Maid of the Mountains
one while, but we uns don't have to work now.
We uns is very rich."
In undisguised curiosity Beth eyed Carol. The
mountain girl was very queerly dressed for a rich
person. In fact her clothes were so very old that
they were almost ragged, and she was bare-
" A rich girl might go barefooted. I've done
so myself," thought Beth, " but she'd surely
Carol read her thoughts. For a moment she
appeared ashamed, and then she tossed her head
" Our money's tied up in the courts now, but
I'm goin' to have silks an' satins later."
" Oh," but Beth was not much enlightened.
She would have liked to question Carol if she had
considered it polite. She was really growing in-
terested in the quaint character before her.
" I'd like to have you spend the afternoon
with me," she said. " If you don't, I'll be all
alone. Mamma thinks Julia's with me so she'll
not hurry home. Can't you stay ? "
Carol nodded her head and seated herself on
the topmost step near the hammock. She wound
her arms, much too long and lanky for her figure,
around her knees, and in this attitude gazed up
at Beth. Again she smiled and a light came
into her eyes that won Beth's heart.
" I'm goin' to love yer heaps. I love yer al-
Beth Meets Carol 77
ready," she murmured. " Yer don't mind if I
tell yer things ? I've no one else to talk to."
During the last weeks Beth herself had felt
lonely many times in spite of the great love that
had been lavished upon her, and Carol's craving
for companionship appealed to her. " I'd like to
have you tell me things," she answered.
" We uns lived in Al'bama onct, an' grandpaw
stayed thar when we uns cum back to the moun-
tains to live, an' hit's through him stayin' thar,
we're to hev money. We're to hev heaps an'
heaps. More'n yer, I reckon. We're to be very
rich folks, an' I'm to take singin' lessons."
"Oh," exclaimed Beth for the second time.
Then, ashamed of her monosyllables, she asked,
" Do you want to take singing lessons ? "
Carol clasped her hands impulsively. " Want
to take um ? " she murmured. " Oh, I want to
take um so much I can't tell yer how much."
" Do you really like singing ? " questioned Beth
in surprise. She was even more surprised to note
how the mountain girl's face lighted up at the
" I hain't never hearn much singin' 'cept the
birds', but I like better'n any thin' to think how
singin' should be. I try an' try till I get a song
the way hit seems hit should be."
" Do you really sing that way ? " Beth asked
The radiant expression faded from Carol's
78 A Maid of the Mountains
face. "I 'lows that what I sing don't 'mount to
much like I'd like, but if I had lessons maybe
hit would. Do yer reckon so ? "
"Maybe." For some reason Beth had little
faith in her new friend's singing ability and
hastened to change the subject. " I'd love to go
to the top of that mountain. Have you ever
been up there ? " She looked toward Hog-
" What, Hogback thar ? " Carol's tones were
contemptuous and her thumb once more went
over her shoulder. " Why, when we uns first
cum that's whar we went, 'way up thar, an' I
don't hanker at all to go back. I had to tote
vegetables miles an' miles to earn a few pennies
to keep us from bein' without any clothes. I
tell yer I grew so powerful tired of trudgin' up
an' down that thar mountain that I don't never
want to see hit no more. I can't believe yer'd
like to go up jes' fer pleasure, but if yer really
mean hit, I'll show yer all 'round up thar some
day. Perhaps yer'd like to see the spot whar
Brune killed the wildcat that wuz after me."
"A wildcat?" repeated Beth, fearing that
Carol might be — well, not exactly truthful.
Then she added, " Who's Brune ? "
" Him ? Why, Brune's my dawg. Here,
Brune ! " she called. " He's sure to come in a
minute. He's never far off. Him's too perlite
to come without bein' called. Come on, Brune."
Beth Meets Carol 79
A beautiful hunting dog came bounding around
the corner of the house.
" Why, what a fine dog," exclaimed Beth sur-
prised that Carol owned anything so aristo-
Carol looked pleased. " Brune's rale peart-like,
Beth coaxed the dog to her side and stroked
his silky head. "How did you come to get
him ? " she asked.
" Onct, when we uns lived up thar," again her
thumb pointed to the mountain back of her, " a
hunter man 'lowed as how he must stay all night
with we uns. Hit war a powerful stormy night.
The rain — wal, thar war no drops, but hit cum
in such floods that I didn't 'low but as how our
cabin with we uns in hit mought be washed down
" Do they have storms like that up here ? "
Carol giggled. " Wal, I should say ! Why,
the clouds let go all to onct, an' down comes the
water like as bucketfuls war bein' poured down
" I should love to see a storm like that," cried
Carol looked over her shoulder at the fast-
gathering clouds along the mountain tops,
" Peers like to me you'll have yer wish right
" Goody," cried Beth, but the next instant her
8o A Maid of the Mountains
face grew serious. " I hope they will get back
before it storms."
" So do I." Carol was more anxious than Beth
about the riders. She knew only too well the
nature of these mountain storms. Her mind
pictured the children riding along the slippery
clay roads. She saw the swollen streams and
the terrifying lightning that brought into bold
prominence the jutting rocks and dark ravines,
and she wondered what the children would do if
they were caught out in the coming storm.
Beth's thought reverted to the story.
" Go on about how Brune came to you. The
hunter — did he stay all night at your house ? "
" Yes, though paw didn't 'low as how he'd
better, he 'lowed as how he must."
" Why didn't your father want him to stay ? "
Carol eyed Beth wistfully. " I reckon as how
hit don't be no matter now to paw if I do tell,
only I want yer to think well of me, an' yer
won't. But ye're sure to hear 'bout us, so I
mought as well tell myself." She hesitated, hang-
ing her head. "Did yer ever hear of mountain
Beth shook her head, and Carol looked relieved.
" Hit's somethin' yer need a license fer, an' paw
had none, an' he 'lowed as how the hunter man
mought find hit out, but as hit war stormin' so
powerful hard an' the hunter man offered a sight
of money, paw let him stay. You see we
Beth Meets Carol 81
uns needed money dreadful them days fer hit
war pretty hard pickin', an' even lately hit's been
hard pickin', so hard that I've toted water up
from the spring to earn pennies. We haven't
any to spend now, though after while we're to
have more money than I kin count, an' I don't
reckon even yer could count hit all."
" Oh," Beth began to think the exclamation
would grow habitual with her if Carol continued
to talk of their wealth. "She will persist in
having riches. I wonder if there isn't some truth
in what she's telling. She surely couldn't be so
untruthful," thought Beth.
Happil}^ unconscious of the doubts her state-
ments created, Carol continued, " We uns — my
brothers and sisters "
" How many have you ? " Beth interrupted.
Carol looked troubled. " Thar's Pete an' Joe
an' Melinda an' Mary an' Martha an' Hezekiah
an' little Sampson. How many is that?"
" An' I'm eio:ht. Thar's more of us than that
'sides what died. Let me see," she held up her
fingers to count on. " Pete an' Joe are two."
"Never mind counting them." Beth did not
marvel that Carol had trouble in keeping count
of such a large family. " Go on about Brune."
Carol shifted her position and leaning up
against a column clasped her hands back of her
neck. She looked at Brune who had settled
82 A Maid of the Mountains
down on the ground at her feet. Her eyes ex-
pressed her intense love, and even her voice soft-
" He's pearter-like than any kid I know. He
hain't no fear at all. Why, I reckon as how
he'd tackle a bar if he had any call."
" A bar ? " repeated Beth, thinking of a piece
" Yes, a bar. Hain't yer never seen a bar ?
Thar hain't no bars here 'bouts, but they're
ter'ble wild animals."
" Oh, a bear. Well, go on about Brune."
Beth was so interested about the wildcat and
Brune that she had forgotten all about her
" Whar wuz I? Oh, 'bout the hunter man.
We littler ones didn't know 'bout him stayin' all
night 'til the next mornin'. Then I found out
by seein' Brune outdoors when I went fer water.
I liked him from the moment I sot eyes on him,
an' he liked me. The hunter man wuz tired an'
slept rale late. I had to go down with some
things to sell that air day, an' Brune started to
follow. I tell yer, hit war lonesome travelin'
miles an' miles on foot all by myself, an' so I
kinder 'low as how I mought have coaxed him
some. Didn't peer like hit'd do no harm. Yer
see, I didn't know that that air hunter man had
planned he must cotch er train North, an' when
hit came time to go he couldn't no whar find
Beth Meets Carol 83
Brune, an' so he went without him. Said as
how he'd come back some time fer him, but I'm
pow'ful glad I've never laid eyes on him since.
I'd feel ter'ble bad to part with Brune."
Beth readily understood how this could be.
" I shouldn't think the * hunter man ' would have
gone without him. He looks to me like a valu-
" Oh, the hunter man had heaps of other
dawgs. Paw said as how he had funnels."
Beth puzzled her head to solve the meaning of
funnels, but could not. " What are funnels ? "
"Funnels? Don't yer know? I 'lowed as
how yer'd know every thin'. Why, funnels are
whar rich men keep dawgs an' raise um."
" Oh, you mean kennels." To keep from laugh-
ing, Beth hurriedly inquired, " Didn't Brune miss
his master at first ? "
" Miss him ? " the mountain girl repeated half
disdainfully, half jealously. '* Brune, come here.
Yer liked me better'n him from the very firs',
didn't yer ? "
The instant she called, the dog arose and
walked majestically up to her, placing a cold nose
against the hand held out to him. Carol turned
triumphantly to Beth.
" Yer see. An' look, here air the scars I tole
yer 'bout. Hit's whar the wildcat clawed Brune."
All over Brune's head and neck were scars, and
Beth eyed them in astonishment. Until this
84 A Maid of the Mountains
moment her faith as to there having been any
wildcat adventure had been small.
" And there are really, truly wildcats in the
mountains ! " she exclaimed eagerly, her eyes
very big and bright in wonder.
" Yer didn't believe me, did yer?" Then,
when she saw Beth's cheeks crimson, she hastened
on. " Yer want to know if thar air wildcats up
here ? Wal, if one tuk after yer, an' yer 'lowed as
every minute'd be yer last, yer'd know thar wuz
" And one really got after you that way ? I —
I" — stammered Beth, noting a hurt look on
Carol's face, " I don't doubt your word, but you
see I'm not used to thinking of wild animals
except in circuses and out at the park ; so you
mustn't mind if I'm surprised. Please go on."
Pacified by her apology and interest, Carol
w^as very willing to continue. " I'd hearn the
men say as how sometimes thar war wildcats
'bout, but I scarcely believed um, like yer didn't
Again Beth blushed guiltily, but she was think-
ing at the same time, " What fun it'll be to tell
Harvey and the girls about Carol and the wild-
" An* 'cause I wuz careless goin' whar hit war
wild all by myself, I wuz most killed. If hit
hadn't been for Brune, I'd have been killed as
sura's my name's Carol."
Beth Meets Carol 85
Beth's eyes were growing rounder every min-
ute. She almost held her breath in order to
catch every word. " I'm so interested," she mur-
mured as Carol paused a moment. "Do go
" I don't jes' remember why Brune warn't
with me at first. Most likely he wuz off chasin'
somethin'. He very often is. I wuz walkin'
through the woods never onct thinkin' 'bout
wildcats, but jes' 'lowed as how I must hurry
home 'cause hit wuz suddently grown dark, an'
then — all to onct — I seen two balls of fire right
'head of me, what knocked the sense clean out
of me. I didn't move or screech. I jes' stood
still, an' that wild thing stood still an' glared, an'
glared. Say, wouldn't yer have been scared ?"
" Well I should say so." Beth was pale at the
very thought, and she shuddered slightly. Carol
enjoyed the effect her story was producing and
wished to prolong it as much as possible.
"What'd yer have done in my place with
those awful balls of fire blazin' right into yer ? "
Beth considered a moment. " If I couldn't
run, I'd have called Duke."
" Who's him ? Yer dawg ? Well, that's jes'
what I did. I called Brune, didn't I, Brune ? "
He was still beside her and she paused to stroke
his neck where the scars showed the ugliest. '* If
hit hadn't been fer yer, Brune, my own neck'd
been like that only much worser 'cause I couldn't
86 A Maid of the Mountains
have fit like yer. An' yer wouldn't have had
me here this minute to love yer like I do."
" Did he come as soon as you called ? " Beth
was impatient of any interruption at such a
" He must 'ave scented danger even 'fore I
called." As she spoke, her hand still rested
lovingly on the healed wounds, and Brune looked
up into her face as if he knew she was sounding
his praise. He wagged his tail proudly. His
mistress again let her attention stray to him.
" Yer'll never forget that moment, will yer,
Brune ? I don't see even yet how yer dared face
them balls of fire fer me."
Beth began to fear that she would never hear
the whole story, but she really admired Carol's
devotion to Brune because of her own liking for
dogs. Therefore, she did not give way to her
impatience, but said gently, "Please go on,
"Fust thing I knowed, he jumped out of ther
bushes with his back all up — 'most 'fore I'd
called. He sprang right toward the balls of fire,
an' jes' pitched right in an' fit. Yes, fit so
hard that that thar wildcat almost killed him. I
hearn him groan onct or twict quiet-like, fer he
wuz too busy to think of his own pain. I wuz
still numb with fear an' all I could do wuz to
watch with my heart ready to fall out. I reckon
if that wildcat had killed him, I'd have jes' stood
Beth Meets Carol 87
right thar 'til hit killed me too. Hit seemed as
if I must stay. All to onct that thar wildcat got
Brune down, an' fer a moment things grew black
fer me. Folks like me don't faint, but I reckon
I came as near hit as I ever will in my life. But
when thar seemed no hope for Brune, fear for
my dawg's life loosed my throat an' I screamed
an' screamed 'til paw hearn, an' came with a gun,
an' that wuz the last of wildcat. An' I fell down
beside Brune an' cried an' cried, fer I reckon'd as
how he wuz done fer. But he wuzn't, an' I
nursed him 'til he wuz well."
Carol arose. "Wal, I reckon as how Brune
an' me must be goin'. Maw '11 kinder be won-
Beth held out her hand, and her eyes still
shone. " I'm so glad you came. I'm very much
obliged for telling me about the wildcat. You'll
come again, won't you ? "
" I liked bein' here better'n yer could guess, an'
me an' Brune'll surely come agin."
Left to herself, Beth began to think that it
was about time for the horseback riders to re-
turn. " They promised not to be gone long," she
She looked toward the mountains. In the
direction of Tremont there was no peak now
visible, but instead, one mass of dark, angry
clouds. Carol's description came back to trouble
88 A Maid of the Mountains
" The clouds let go all to onct an' down comes
the water like as bucketfuls war bein' poured
down yer back."
" Yer lazy, no count boy ! " The voice was
unmistakably Carol's down in the pine grove at
the foot of the hill. " Warn't yer tole to hunt
squirrel, an' here yer be sleepin'. She'll scold
" Missy Beth won't scole me. I jes' couldn't
cotch dat squirrel no-away. De fastah I flew
aftah it, de fastah flew Mr. Squirrel. I got awful
tired, clean tuckered out, an' I was goin' to tole
missy so, but "
" Gustus, come here to me," called Beth.
" Thar, what I done tole yer ? Yer goin' to
Beth was surprised that she could hear every
word so distinctly considering the distance.
" Gustus, hurry," she called presently.
At the same moment her mother appeared
through the open French window. "We must
get you in, Beth. I hastened home when I saw
the storm coming."
Rueur Returns Riderless
Once in her own room, the storm fully oc-
cupied Beth's mind. Ev^en after it grew very
dark, she would not have a lamp lighted. The
shades to the French windows were up and the
awful wind that had come with the storm dashed
the torrent of rain against the glass, blurring it
except when the lightning overcame the dark-
Built as the house was on the side of the hill,
without a cellar, the wind had full sweep in the
wing of the house where Beth was and the room
shook and swayed to such an extent that Beth
was somewhat nervous on her own account.
" It's like a cradle," she thought, as she sat
propped up in bed. " I didn't know a house
could shake so. Suppose it tumbled over."
A sudden flash of light made her forget her
own fear in anxiety for the wanderers.
" What can have happened ? They'll be
awfully frightened and wet. Perhaps they've
stopped somewhere. That's it."
Comforted somewhat by this hope, Beth again
thought over her meeting with Carol.
" It turned out true about the wildcat, and
92 A Maid of the Mountains
maybe she's really to have money. * More'n yer
have.' That's just v^hat she said. If "
The door leading into the hall was hastily
swung open, and Gustus burst into the room.
" Missy Beth, what yo' think ? "
Her heart beat excitedly. " Have they come,
Gustus ? " she asked.
" Does yo' 'specs, Missy Beth, dat "
" Gustus, tell me. Have they come ? "
"]S"o 'deed, Missy Beth. What done make
yo' think dat ? But yo' squirrel done come
She was less pleased over the news than she
would have been under ordinary circumstances,
and her lack of enthusiasm disappointed Gustus.
He eyed her reproachfully.
" Ain't I to earn dat quartah, 'cause I wuz de
fust to see Mr. Squirrel ? I cotched him after
"I suppose you put salt on its tail. No?
Well how did you catch it ? "
He stood first on one foot and then on the
other, contriving how he might get the money.
" I really cotched it. Missy Beth, an' yo' said if
I did dat I wuz to have a quartah. I needs dat
money " Conscience suddenly got the better
of his greed. *' Mr. Squirrel must 'ave known it
too, or why should he 'ave come into de dinin'
room jes' at supper time, an' hop up on his little
hind feet an' beg ? I fooled him, though 'bout
Ruear Returns Riderless 93
me bein' black. I cracked some nuts fer 'im, an'
Avhile Mr. Squirrel wuz gobblin' dem up, I
grabbed 'im. Yo' see de nuts 'stracted his 'ten-
tion from me. Don't yo' reckon I earned dat
quartah ? "
He looked so very wistful that Beth could not
resist. ^' I'll get papa to give it to you."
Around the mom he danced in high delight.
" Golly, but I'm happy. Heaps of good things
happenin'. When we went to de woods early
dis mornin', me an' Duke treed a possum. I'm
dat happy "
Suddenly a flash of lightning and the crash
that quickly followed frightened all the delight
out of him. Midway in the room he halted,
shaking until even his teeth chattered.
"Ow ! ow ! Missy Beth. I— I didn't tole yo'
a lie ? I — I let yo' know dat Mr. Squirrel gave
hisself up, didn't I ? I don't wants to be killed
by the lightnin'. It wuz so ter'ble, it might
strike one dead."
" And they're out in it," murmured Beth.
" Yo' don't reckon it killed um, do yo' ? "
" Gustus, don't be silly."
Her tone was so sharp that it made Gustus
shiver anew. ** Xo, I won't. Missy Beth, dough
I'se ter'ble scared."
The fire w^as dying down and the room was
" Bring in some logs, Gustus. We must have
94 -A Maid of the Mountains
the room nice and warm for them when thej re-
But even after the fire blazed up, Beth was
but little comforted.
" You keep a good watch, Gustus, and the
minute you see a sign of them, you run up and
After he had gone, she was almost sorry she
had sent him. She would have rung the bell for
some one but supposed that supper was being
served. In this, she was mistaken. Her parents
were too anxious to eat, and stayed away from
her that she might not question them.
All alone, Beth was more and more terrified
by the violence of the wind. In fact it was in-
creasing in velocity momentarily. So distressed
was she by its howling that she drew the bed-
clothes over her head to shut out the sound if
she could ; but she found no relief thus. Unable
to stand the suspense alone another moment, she
reached out and struck the bell by her bedside.
Her father answered the call.
" Oh, papa," she half sobbed, " I'm so worried.
The wind frightens me. Wouldn't it be awful
if they're out in it ? Do you suppose they've gone
in somewhere ? "
" I hope so, dear."
" Papa, what was that ? It sounded like
Mr. Davenport, too, had heard the same sound
Rueur Returns Riderless 95
and he hurried over toward the window. Bath's
every nerve was quivering, and the crash of
thunder that came at that moment made her
think that perhaps her imagination was leading
As the thunder subsided, Mr. Davenport threw
open the window at which he stood. The wind
was driving the rain against the opposite side of
the house so that only the sound of the storm en-
tered through the open window, at least that was
all Beth heard at first ; but in a moment another
uproar almost made her heart stop beating.
Again she was sure Gustus was yelling, but what
was even more terrifying was another crying
out, so very peculiar that Beth had not the least
idea what it could be.
" Oh, papa, what's the matter ? " she cried as
he closed the window and turned toward the
door. "Did you hear the noise? What was
He paused momentarily. " It's probably some
of Gustus's tomfoolery. Don't worry, Beth.
I'll find out all about it in a moment."
" Be sure to let me know," she called after
She felt her helplessness more than ever be-
cause she could not run along with him. To lie
still and wait to be told was very hard. Although
she was only kept in suspense a few moments,
the time seemed an age to her.
96 A Maid of the Mountains
" Oh, Missy Beth ! " cried Gustus, rushing into
" Have they come ? " she demanded, raising
herself on her elbow.
He was panting and only gasped, " Oh, Missy
Beth— oh "
His manner caused a clutching at her heart.
Something terrible had happened to the riders
and he hated to tell. Impatient that he kept
her in such suspense, she still dreaded to have
He rolled his eyes tragically. " De awf ullest
thing's happened " He drew a deep breath.
He was intent on impressing her duly, but hardly
realized what a harrowing effect his manner and
words were producing.
" They — they ? " She was almost sob-
" Did yo' hear dat awful, ter'ble noise ? It
made de cole run up an' down my back. I 'lowed
dat Massa Harve an' Miss Marian an' Miss Julie
were bein' murdered."
Speech was beyond Beth, but she shuddered.
If she could have laid hands on him she would
have shaken the truth from him instead of letting
him torture her.
" Dat's jes' de way I felt," he continued ad-
miringly. '' I 'lowed "
This was too much, and anger gave her back
the use of her voice.
Rueur Returns Riderless 97
" I'll not listen to what you thought. Tell me
this instant what happened."
He looked grieved. " Dat's jes' what I'm doin'.
As dem chills war runnin' up an' down my back,
de fright got in my mouth an' I yelled. Did yo'
hear me yell ? "
Beth knew that the more she interrupted, the
longer she would be in hearing what had hap-
pened. That was always Gustus's way in telling
anything. To control herself, she clasped her
hands and pressed them together so hard that it
" Papa heard you," she answered faintly.
" Dat's why he came runnin'. If he hadn't
come, I'd nebber dared see what wuz makin' dat
awful, dreadful noise." His tones were sepul-
" What was it ? " She was so harrowed that
she was on the point of giving way to her feel-
" What yo' reckon it wuz ? "
" How should I know ? " she snapped. Beth
thouc^ht that now he must tell and she no lono^er
curbed her impatience. '^ If I knew, I wouldn't
be questioning you."
" Dat's so, Missy Beth. I nebber onct thought
ob dat," he chuckled which enraged her anew.
" How should yo' know 'bout dat noise when yo'
couldn't guess if yo' tried all night."
"I'm not going to guess. If you don't tell
98 A Maid of the Mountains
this minute, I'll have mamma send you back to
Jacksonville," her voice was broken now by sobs.
" Why, Missy Beth, I am tellin' yo'," he stam-
mered. "A hog, a monster hog made all dat
" A hog ? " she repeated, hardly believing what
she heard. " And it had nothing to do about the
riders at all ? "
"Ob course not. Didn't yo' know dat all
'long ? "
" Oh, Gustus, what a scare you gave me."
Beth sank back on the pillow greatly relieved
although still angry.
" I done give myself an awful scare. Missy
Beth," he answered in a sympathetic tone as if
he had nothing to do with the state of her feel-
ings. All at once he burst forth into a hearty,
contagious laugh. Angry as Beth was she almost
had to smile. Then it came to her that perhaps
he was making fun of her.
" I don't see anything to laugh at," she said in
her most dignified manner.
" Ha ha, ho ho. Missy Beth, yo' didn't see dat
hog or yo'd laugh too." He suddenly sobered.
" But it et up ebbery one ob our chickens dat
we had cooped up to eat oursels."
" Ate up our chickens ? Hogs don't eat chickens."
" Dis Mr. Hog did. He got right into de coop
wid dem an' gobbled up ebbery one. Den piggy
hog wanted to go, but he stuck."
Rueur Returns Riderless 99
The ludicrousness of the situation again struck
him. He laughed so heartily that the tears
trickled down his cheeks, and he doubled over
with his hands on his sides.
" Oh, oh. Missy Beth," he half sobbed, " yo'—
oh, oh — nebber sawed anythin' half so funny.
It wriggled, an' wriggled, ah, ah, but it couldn't
budge, an' then it squealed an' squealed, jes' dis-
away." He grunted in such perfect imitation
that Beth just had to laugh.
" Ho, ho," he roared much easier in mind now
that she was no longer stern. " Mr. Hog's still
stickin' in de coop. Don't yo' hear him squealin' ?
I do. Serve yo' right, Mr. Hog." So great was
his glee that he could hardly keep from dancing.
Mrs. Davenport entered with a tray. " We
almost forgot your supper, Beth," she said.
"I can't eat. I'm "
" Yes you can, dear. You mustn't worry.
They'll come home all right." She arranged
Beth's supper on the pillow in front of her and
started to light the lamp.
*' I don't want a light, mamma. The fire makes
it bright enough."
*' Yery well, dear. Gustus, you can stay to
wait on her if she wants anything else."
He was very much delighted that he was not to
be banished. After Mrs. Davenport left, he
skipped over by the fire, and sat down on the
hearth with his back to the flames. At the same
100 A Maid of the Mountains
moment an extra heavy gust of wind shook the
house to its very foundations.
"0\v," howled Gustus, jumping up and run-
ning back to the bedside. " When de wind shrieks
dataway, Missy Beth, it means dat somethin'
ter'ble '11 happen. I'm awful scared."
" Don't whisper that way, Gustus. You're
worse than the wind."
" Does yo' believe in signs ? " he asked as he
dropped into the chair nearest her while nodding
his head impressively. " I've been studyin' 'bout
it an' it peers like to me dat it's very bad to hav'
a squirrel come back like yo's did. Rabbits are
bad luck an' I reckon squirrels am too. An' dat
hog, also, may mean some thin' very bad."
" Oh, you're silly now," but, though she ap-
peared contemptuous, her power to eat was being
taken away entirely by his doleful manner^
" I ain't silly. Missy Beth. Signs nebber laTl.
Ow," he howled again in unison with the wind.
" Jes' listen to dat now. All de people who have
been killed on nights like dis am let loose an'
dey howl to let us know how fearful it am to be
out dis night. I wouldn't be out dar fer all de
" Hush, Gustus, hush." She was thinking of
-, *' Ghosts chase people on sech nights." His
voice was again sepulchral. " Dey come gallopin'
down de mountains on wind horses — hear dem
Rueur Returns Riderless loi
now — ow, o\v, ow, dey shriek, an' clutch folks,
an' take dem off foreber. Supposin' dey cotch
our folks ? Whatebber would we do ? "
" Nonsense. I'm not afraid of ghosts, but I do
hope they're not in this awful storm. That's
what scares me.'*
" Yo' ain't eatin' nothin'," interrupted Gustus,
eyeing enviously the tray with all its dainties.
*' I can't eat. You can have everything here."
His eyes fairly bulged out in his pleasure. He
grasped the tray hastily as if fearful she might
repent, and set to work with unimpaired appetite
to devour his unexpected feast. In his greed he
even forgot his fear. His mournfulness all de-
parted, but the effects of it still remained with
Beth. It seemed an interminable titne until her
father and mother came upstairs. Every mo-
ment made them more and more anxious, but for
Beth's sake they tried to appear cheerful.
" Oh, is there nothing we can do ? " cried
" We don't even know where they were going."
They talked awhile of other matters, but their
thoughts dwelt with the wanderers.
" What time is it ? " asked Beth.
" Eight o'clock."
" Only eight ? I thought it must be about
Half an hour later there was a timid knock at
the door, and Beth was greatly surprised to see
102 A Maid of the Mountains
Carol enter the room. She was dripping wet
and looked as if she had been out in the worst of
the storm. She was without hat or wrap and
her teeth chattered from cold.
" Why, Carol ! " exclaimed Beth.
If Beth had been alone, Carol would have
spoken immediately, so important was the news
she had to tell, but, at sight of the others, speech
failed her, so that she stood stupidly twisting
her hands with her eyes lowered.
"Carol, what brought you out in such a
storm ? " questioned Beth.
Tears rose in Carol's eyes, and she found cour-
age to sidle nearer.
" The folks that rode ? " she gasped. " Hav'
they come ? "
"Ko, no. You've something to tell about
them ? "
Carol nodded her head. Then she blurted out :
" One of um is hurted then or killed like I feared."
Beth sprang up in bed unmindful of weakness.
" What makes you say that ? " demanded Mr.
Davenport grasping Carol by the shoulders.
She gulped down a sob. " I — I rode all the
ways from Landrums to tell yer."
"Yes, yes. Go on."
"My paw's the man what got the mule fer
you uns from a man at Landrums. I "
" Has this anything to do with our children ? "
She glanced shyly up at him and nodded her
Raear Returns Riderless 103
head. " I wuz down spendin' er night with that
man's gal. An' " Again her voice failed
" Do go on, Carol," implored Beth.
" Mebbe hit's not as bad as hit seems. I hates
to hurt yer," sobbed Carol. " But hit's got to be
tole, hasn't hit ? " She looked up pleadingly at
Mr. Davenport. Kot waiting for an answer she
continued brokenly :
" 'Bout half an hour or so ago, they found yer
mule with hit's bridle all broken, an' no one in
the saddle. The man wouldn't come to tole yer,
so I come."
Her bravery in riding through dark and storm
to bring the news was overlooked because of
" Harvey's killed," sobbed Beth.
" I'm going to Landrums. I must get trace of
the children," said Mr. Davenport.
" If yer want the mule, he's hitched 'round by
To save time, he decided to ride the mule.
Once in the saddle, Mr. Davenport urged
Eueur into a gallop, and so persistently per-
suaded him onward, that tired as the mule was,
he was compelled to travel swiftly over the slip-
pery clay and the sure-footed little beast never
stumbled nor halted.
The storm was lifting, but Mr. Davenport had
little thought for the state of the weather.
The Deserted Cabin
And now to tell what had befallen the riders
earlier in the day.
The spurs had such a good effect on the mule
that the animals traveled peaceably for a mile or
two at a moderate pace ; but the youthful blood
of the riders, and the bracing air made them im-
patient of such quiet sport.
"Let's pretend we're Indians," proposed
Harvey with a whoop that slightly startled the
Julia, too, had been pondering what she could
propose for excitement and quickly seconded his
" Or how would it do to be cowboys and ride
like they do in the Wild West shows ? Oh, and
we could be chased by Indians ! " exclaimed
" That would be sport. Come on," and Harvey,
digging the spurs into Rueur, let forth another
wild whoop that set the hills echoing.
Even quiet Marian entered into the spirit of
" Nobody will hear," she thought and up she
io8 A Maid of the Mountains
rose in her stirrup, waving lier whip and whoop-
ing with Harvey.
Julia, not to be outdone, yelled wildly, giving
her horse free rein.
How their blood tingled as along the winding
road flew the mule closely followed by the horses.
Instinctively the animals kept to the bank at the
right where glossy bushes of rhododendrons and
laurels grew in wild confusion for, at the left,
there was a descent leading to a babbling stream
which gurgled over the rocks and flowed merrily
down into the valley.
" Girls, girls, don't stop ! " shouted Harvey, as
the road led them down to where they must ford
the stream. " For your life, don't stop. I saw
the Indians springing down the bank just back
of us. It's a chase of life and death now ! Come
Into the clear stream he spurred Eueur, and the
girls splashed on with him. Julia's horse stum-
bled on a rock and almost fell. For an instant
Harvey pulled in rein.
" Are you all right, Julia ? "
" Yes, only some of the water got on me and
it's pretty cold ; but don't stop for I think I hear
the Indians sneaking up in back of us," and un-
daunted, she flew onward with her companions
at a wild speed. They were almost as much ex-
cited as if their play were real.
Within a very short time, they had forded the
The Deserted Cabin 109
brook six or seven times, so very winding was the
After a while the horses tired of such mad rid-
ing for they had been driven up and down hill
without any let-up. Their breath shortened ; they
were soon covered Avith lather, and the girls
felt the sides of the animals heaving beneath
" I don't think father would like us to ride so
fast," suggested Marian timidly, pulling up
" Nonsense," cried Harvey, for sturdy Kueur
showed no signs of fatigue. " Hurry, they're
gaining on us," he added in a sepulchral tone.
" Oh, I'm so frightened," cried Julia hyster-
** Hush, Julia, or they'll hear you," cautioned
Marian giving up her momentary scruples be-
cause the others were still so enthused with the
" They might track us by the footprints in the
road. We ought to do something to mislead
them," proposed Julia.
Harvey pondered a moment. Just ahead the
stream had to be crossed again which was an in-
spiration to Harvey, and he said, " Instead of fol-
lowing the road, let's go up-stream so there'll be
no tracks. We're sure to come on the road
Once more Marian was inclined to object to
no A Maid of the Mountains
such daredevil play, but she did not wish always
to be the one to cast a damper on the sport, so up-
stream she went without a word, and at first,
splashing through the water proved less risky,
and more fun than she had deemed ; but the horses
did not enjoy it as much as did their riders.
Rueur alone trudged stolidly ahead.
" It's getting sticky," exclaimed Julia who was
now in the lead with Harvey.
" That's nothing. All water beds are sticky
sometimes, I reckon, and we'll be out of this in
a minute," he answered.
Marian did not agree with him, but still offered
no objection. She whipped her horse in an ef-
fort to keep up with the others, while, at the
same time, she became anxious because her
horse's feet sank deeper and deeper with every
step. Julia's horse, too, dragged its feet out of
the mire with diflB.culty, and it breathed labo-
Harvey did not notice how bad the road was
because the mule was sturdier than the horses.
Then he was still pretending that the Indians
were after them and was most intent on escaping
the wild men. He was recalled to his senses by
Marian crying :
" We must get out of this. I believe it's quick-
As she spoke she turned toward shore whip-
ping her horse hard. After a slight struggle the
The Deserted Cabin ill
animal was enabled to draw out its feet so that
it soon gained firm footing. Then Marian looked
again toward her friends.
Her warning had brought them both to a
standstill, and Harvey cried, " She's right. We
must get out of this. It may be quicksand," and
with the words he applied the spurs which caused
Rueur to exert his great strength, so that soon
Harvey halted beside Marian on the bank of the
stream beyond the quicksand.
Meantime Julia tried to follow, but her tired
horse refused to budge and, while it stood still, it
was sucked deeper and deeper into the miry
"Hit him as hard as ever you can," yelled
Julia struck the quivering horse as bid, and
though she whipped hard and long, it either
would not or could not make much headway.
When Julia saw that her efforts were useless, she
let go of the reins and gathered her skirts in her
" What are you doing ? " demanded Harvey.
*' I'm going to jump off and wade in." Her
foot was already out of the stirrup.
"Stop, Julia. You mustn't. You might be
swallowed up in the quicksand. I'll come out
and help you." With this, Harvey started Rueur
toward the quicksand, but the mule balked within
a few feet of the bemired horse. Harvey, how-
112 A Maid of the Mountains
ever, now knew the spurs to be a sure cure for
stubbornness with Rueur. One dig into the
balky mule's side was sufficient to land him be-
side the panting horse.
"Julia, can you jump over here with me? I
think Rueur will take us both to shore."
Almost before he had finished, agile Julia was
over on Rueur just behind Harvey.
"Wait," she cried as he was about to turn
shoreward. With the word she leaned far over
and gave her own horse the hardest cut with a
whip it had ever known which so surprised the
animal that it succeeded in lifting first one foot
and then another.
Rueur needed no encouragement to struggle
shoreward. The sturdy little animal, notwith-
standing the extra weight, plowed bravely through
the quicksand, while the horse with every muscle
at great tension, followed.
" I wonder what would have happened if you
hadn't come for me," said Julia as Harvey drew
rein beside Marian.
" You'd have gotten out all right," he answered
partly to make light of his own help and partly
because he believed what he said. " You'd have
gotten scared and whipped hard like you did at
" Suppose Julia's horse will not let us catch it.
Do you think it will follow us home?" asked
Marian, looking toward the animal which had
The Deserted Cabin 1 13
paused to graze on the edge of the bank not far
" jSTot much danger but what we can catch it
all right. It's too tired to run from us," said
Harvey and so it proved.
Marian looked doubtfully along the edge of the
stream as Julia was changing to her own saddle.
" I don't know what we'd better do," she said,
when they were once more ready to start. " The
bushes hang down so low that we might get in
the quicksand again if we try to go back to the
" We'll try it through the bushes then," said
Harvey, heading Eueur up the bank. The girls
willingly followed. Even Julia was somewhat
subdued. She would have enjoyed beaten tracks
at least for awhile.
" If we go straight ahead we're almost sure to
strike the road because it makes so very many
turns," continued Harvey.
"I'd hate to go a long way through this
The undergrowth was so dense that both girls
had to draw their skirts close around them, and
the horses snorted anew because of the untrodden
paths over which they were being taken. Rueur
again proved the leader, instinctively picking
out the best way. By force of his example, the
horses also were encouraged to make slow head-
114 -^ -Marc/ of the Mountains
" Here's a road," cried Harvey. " It seems to
go in the direction of home, so I think we'd
better return, as Beth will be getting lonely."
The girls agreed, so they headed in the direc-
tion in which they thought Tremont lay.
** Beth will be proud of Eueur when we tell
her how well he has behaved. I'd rather own
him than either of the horses," said Harvey,
patting the mule which looked around in mild
" He doesn't know what to make of my pet-
ting him after the way I dug the spurs into him,
but I reckon it didn't hurt much, and it got him
out of the quicksand in a hurry."
" Was it real bad quicksand like you hear
about, Harve ? "
" I reckon it wasn't the worst kind."
" Well it was bad enough anyway." Julia shud-
dered slightly as she remembered the disagreea-
ble sensation of feeling her horse sink.
" Let's take another run," proposed Harvey
when he noticed that Julia's horse had regained
Again along the winding road they cantered,
but not at the breakneck speed they had ridden
earlier in the day. However, even at a slower
gallop, they covered much ground before Marian
pulled up her horse suddenly.
" This isn't the road we came."
" The woods look the same," announced Julia,
The Deserted Cabin 115
who had not been noticing her surroundings until
her attention was called to them.
" We haven't crossed the brook hardly any."
" I noticed that," admitted Harvey. " But I
wouldn't say anything for I reckon all roads
lead to Tremont like Boman roads."
" I'm not so sure about that," interrupted
Marian doubtfully. " I've found these mountain
roads mighty queer. You start off all right
seemingly and the first thing you know you're a
great distance out of the way."
" Maybe we'd better go back then."
*' But we'd not be sure of finding the right
road, and, even if w^e did, it would make us xerj
late getting home. Let's hurry, and maybe we'll
come to a mountain hut where some one will tell
us how to go."
Once more they urged their steeds to a good
pace. All were getting anxious although they
did not like to admit that such was the case.
" One couldn't be badly lost hereabouts," de-
clared Harvey to reassure his companions.
*' I haven't seen one familiar landmark," said
Marian. " It will make us late home so that
they may worry. Otherwise I don't mind."
" It's not so very late. It's just cloudy, I
believe. If they don't worry, I think it rather
fun to be reallv, trulv lost. I never was before,"
added adventurous Julia.
" I wish these woods didn't close in around us,
1 16 A Maid of the Mountains
for then we could see the mountains which
would show if we are still going in the right
direction. Let's ride a little faster and maybe
we'll come to an open space," said quiet Marian.
For fully a quarter of an hour they rode along
without catching a glimpse of the mountains,
and without seeing the least sign of human life.
Then they came to an opening. But the clouds
hung low over the mountains while the sky had
grown so dark that they could tell little of their
whereabouts. More than ever their hearts sank.
They had to acknowledge that they were really
" I never saw the mountains so covered with
clouds. An awful storm is coming. What shall
we do ? " cried Marian glancing apprehensively at
the storm signals to the left of her.
" We can only ride on now, I suppose. Luck
may be with us."
Darker and darker grew the sky as nearer and
nearer came the storm. The children became
more dispirited with the lowering of the clouds,
and even the animals were growing restive
although they were decidedly fagged out.
"It's darker than after sunset. They'll be
dreadfully scared," said Marian.
" Here's a road to the right. Suppose we try
it," cried Harvey.
All decided that to the right might be Tre-
mont and so turned to the new road. For a few
The Deserted Cabin 117
moments the change made them hopeful, but this
feeling lasted a very short while, for, beside the
darkness, there were flashes of lightning and
angry rumblings, and the road itself grew narrow
and rocky. The lightning cast weird shadows
across the rutted road.
" We're really lost, and it isn't a bit of fun
like I said," thought Julia. In fact for children
to be lost in a mountainous country with no
human habitation visible proved so terrifying
that she felt like giving way to tears, but, being
brave-hearted, she suppressed them.
Suddenly, a blinding flash followed by a roar
made the horses start and snort. Every nerve
of their high strung being was a quiver. Rueur,
alone, was unmoved. He picked his way stolidly
along the rough trail and his coolness somewhat
calmed the horses.
Another flash quickly followed, so vivid that
the children took advantage of the light to look
around, but what they saw only made them more
nervous. The rocks on the hill to the side of
them appeared as monstrous giants ready to roll
down and crush them to atoms. The ruts in the
path seemed even worse than they had thought,
but still more discouraging was the discovery
that the road narrowed into a trail leading
through gloomy pine woods.
" Let's turn back," proposed Marian.
" No. We'd better get under the trees," an-
ii8 A Maid of the Mountains
swered Harvey who was the only one to appre-
ciate the shelter they would afford when the
floods descended, as he expected any instant.
" I've heard there is greater danger of being
struck by lightning in the woods. And "
" Yes, but when the rain comes, your horses
would be sure to slip in the clay and dark.
Kueur might manage to keep up. How would it
do for you girls to wait under a big tree while I
ride on "
" What, and leave us. 'Not much. I "
Again the sky was illumined.
" I see a house," interrupted Julia joyfully.
Neither of the others had been so quick of
vision as she, which made them fear that her
imagination was playing her false. However,
they rode on waiting breathlessly for another
flash to verify her words or else to show them
that they must buffet the storm unsheltered
except by trees.
" She's right, she's right I " cried Harvey.
" There are a number of houses."
The expected flash had revealed to the girls
also a little settlement of huts clustered near
each other in a cleared space. None were more
than a story high and were evidently hastily
constructed out of pine logs.
Joyfully they rode toward the first cabin
where Harvey jumped to the ground. He
handed his reins to Marian that Rueur might not
The Deserted Cabin 119
run away, and walked quickly up to the door
and knocked. Receiving no response, he knocked
more vigorously, but still no one came. The
third time he literally pounded on the door so
eager was he.
" They must be over at a neighbor's," called
Marian. " I'll lead Rueur to the next house.
Some one will surely be home there."
On to the second house they hurried, for the
rain was beginning to fall in enormous drops.
Again Harvey pounded and pounded, but all his
efforts proved useless. Not a soul appeared to
be in the cabin. Impatient of the delay he
rushed on to a third door, but there met with no
better success. After trying three or four more
houses, all with like result, they all three were
not only puzzled, but were fast being soaked, for
the rain was growing worse and worse every
^' I'll try one more place, and if no one answers,
we'll break in if we can. You girls must get
out of the wet. I never knew of anything so
very queer," he called as he ran on to another
" I reckon they're all dead," he muttered as
still no one opened for them. Harvey turned to
try the window at his right when suddenly he
heard a moving within. He waited thinking that
at last he had roused the occupants of the place.
But when the door did not open, he again struck
1 20 A Maid of the Mountains
it with all his might, assured that he had really
heard some one moving.
Once more the same mysterious movement
began, but still the door remained unopened.
This was too much for Harvey's temper and he
was bound to solve the mystery. He made such
a racket that Marian cried :
" Why not give up "
" Give up," he repeated scornfully. " There's
some one in there sure, and I'll just make them
come, even if my knuckles are getting sore."
" I'll come and pound too," cried Julia, slip-
ping from her horse. She tied it to a tree and
joined Harvey. Marian, likewise, jumped to
the ground, and fastened Eueur and her horse
" Perhaps everybody's dead of some plague.
It makes me creepy all over not to have any
answer," she said in a half whisper to her com-
panions who were now both pounding as hard
as they could.
" There's some one or something still living.
Julia and I both heard a sound within. Listen,
and you'll hear it too." They ceased rapping.
" You dreamed you heard a noise. There's
not a sound," Marian answered skeptically, after
holding her ear to the keyhole.
" There's nothing now, but I know I did hear
something. Perhaps the person's deaf and don't
hear us. That's it, I do believe."
The Deserted Cabin 121
His solution seemed so feasible that they won-
dered at not thinking of it before. Besides the
downpour, it had grown suddenly cold and they
stood shivering, trying to fathom how they could
attract the attention of an exceedingly deaf
" We'll have to break in. We can then yell
the situation at the owner," Harvey said, when
he could devise no other way. He walked over
and tried to pry the window at the right open,
but it would not yield. Then he tried the
window on the left.
" It's giving way," he cried joyfully. " Come
on, girls, I'll help you in."
" I don't need help," and Julia proved her
words by clambering through the now open
window as nimbly as a squirrel would. She
paused just inside.
" There's not a bit of a light in the house," she
whispered. " I hear the noise again. Maybe it's
a crazy person, I'm scared. They're coming
over after me," and out she jumped beside the
Even Marian heard the mysterious movement
now, and was inclined to believe that the inmate
of the dark room might be a crazy person.
" Are you entirely deaf ? Speak," demanded
Harvey not realizing that their own position
might be considered peculiar.
A low sound, so very mysterious that it seemed
122 A Maid of the Mountains
like a person or beast in distress, answered him
and the three at the window drew back in fright.
" I — I'd rather stay out in the storm," cried
" Let's go," cried Julia ready to run.
Perhaps Harvey's resolve to enter the mysteri-
ous abode would have been shaken had not a
flash of lightning revealed a crouching figure in
the room very near the window.
" It's — it's a bear," cried Julia her nerves still
*' Nonsense. Come on in," and Harvey was
within the room before the girls could grasp him
to hold him back.
" Harve, come back," cried Marian.
"Oh, come on in. You're not afraid of a poor,
starved dog ? " he cried.
" A — a dog ? " she repeated h3^sterically.
The girls would hardly believe that all their
fright had been caused by such a poor, innocent
being until another flash of light revealed an
emaciated dog beside Harvey. Then they scram-
bled into the room, and began making a great
fuss over the starved animal.
" You dear old fellow — to think we were
afraid of you," cried Julia.
" Do you reckon he's all alone here ? " whis-
pered Marian to Harvey.
Julia, feeling the dog's ribs as she stroked his
side, continued, "Why you've been starved. I
The Deserted Cabin 123
wish I bad some food for you. I'm hungry my
self, but I'd give every bite to you if I had
some. It's a shame, a dreadful shame."
He hardly heeded her, but whined pitifully.
Then he caught at Marian's skirt and pulled on
" He wishes us to go with him," she said.
" I've heard of dogs acting like this before. I
wonder what he wants to tell us."
The dog whined and started across the room.
"When they did not follow, he returned and
pulled again at Marian's skirt.
" We ought to see what he wants," she whis-
pered, but it was so very dark that she held
back to see if her companions would go too.
" I suppose we ought to go," agreed Harvey.
Julia, too, thought that they ought to follow the
dog. Thus fortified by numbers, they started
across the room.
In the darkness of the storm, they could
only distinguish imperfectly their surroundings.
Harvey's quick eye noted a fireplace. Julia
stumbled over something that proved to be a
home manufactured stool. Marian bruised her
shins on a wooden chair, and then they were at a
door which was open.
" Suppose we find some one dead in there,"
whispered Marian, catching hold of Julia who
shuddered and drew back, too. The dog alone
did not hesitate. He ran into the room and
124 ^ ilfa/c/ of the Mountains
whined anew. So pitiful and so persistent was
his whining that it seemed to the girls his heart
" I — I can't bear to hear him," and Marian
placed her fingers in her ears.
" It scares me."
" Is any one in here ? " demanded Harvey.
Only the dog's moaning answered him.
" This is an awful place," sobbed Marian.
" It's worse than a haunted house. Let's go."
At this moment a light streamed through a
side window making every object in the room
stand out in bold prominence. Right beside the
door was a box that had served as a washstand,
for on it were an old broken pitcher, a tin basin
and a small piece of soap. The only other
piece of furniture was an old tumble down cot
over in the far corner of the room. The dog
stood with his front feet on the edge of the bed,
and had turned his head to make sure the chil-
dren had not gone. At sight of them he whined
even more pathetically, but they hardly dared
look his way for fear some ghastly spectacle
might meet their eyes. And yet the mystery of
the place drew their eyes to the bed. At first
an old sheet and blanket on the cot made it seem
as if somebody might be there. While still un-
certain what ghastly revelation awaited them,
the light gave out. The girls with their hearts
thumping wildly, and Harvey hardly less moved,
The Deserted Cabin 125"
awaited breathlessly another illumination. In a
few seconds their suspense was relieved. Except
themselves, no living person was in the room.
" He doesn't know where his master is any
more than we do. He's asking us about it,"
Marian said brokenly.
" It's very strange." Harvey was trying not
to appear affected, but a lump would rise in his
throat. " There's another room over there, I
think. Let's see what we can find in there."
The girls did not care for more adventure, but
they would not be left alone, and so they fol-
lowed Harvey into the back room. The dog ran
after them. He was vastly interested in their
investigation. Probably he hoped their intelli-
gence might fathom a mystery which had baffled
As the children crossed the threshold into the
third and last room, they felt an unusually cold
blast of air, and a creaking sound so startled the
girls that they cried out in fright.
" Who's here ? " demanded Harvey in a very
brave voice, but his own heart was going like a
The creaking sound did not stop although he
received no reply. Combined with the howling
of the wind, it made them all more nervous.
" Let's go. This house is worse than the storm."
"It's strange the dog don't seem to mind,"
126 A Maid of the Mountains
Another flash of light made all their spirits
" Why, the door's open. That's what is mak-
ing the noise," cried Harvey.
In fact the kitchen door was swinging to and
fro on half broken hinges, and the wind was
beating in the rain in wild torrents.
Harvey tried to close the door fast, but there
was no lock or bolt to keep it shut. Finally it
came to him that he had seen logs on the hearth
in the front room, and he went for one and
placed it against the door.
"I do hope nothing more can happen. I'd
break down completely, I know. I do wish we
were home around the open fire. I'm dreadfully
cold," murmured Marian, shivering as she spoke.
" And I'm cold," added Julia, beginning to
realize that they were all very wet and miserable.
" You shall have a fire in a few minutes, girls.
I've some matches in my pocket and there were
other logs on the hearth," answered Harvey.
Harvey Brings Watch to Beth
"It isn^t half so doleful now," said Marian,
sinking down on the hearth after the fire was
For a few moments they enjoyed the heat and
light from the fire in silence. The dog alone re-
fused to be comforted. He wandered around dis-
consolately, but came back every once in a while
to attract their attention by whining.
" It's because he's so hungry," declared Julia,
judging by his appearance and the state of her
" It's very strange about him," said Harvey.
*' With the door open, why didn't he go and seek
food ? "
" Perhaps there's less myster}^ than we're mak-
ing out." Julia was always quick to recover
from any depression. If she had not been so
hungry, she would have been actually cheerful
now that she had been warmed by the blaze.
" Perhaps the people around here are all off at
some party or something, and were caught in the
rain like us."
" These houses don't look like they belonged to
130 A Maid of the Mountains
people who go to afternoon parties," answered
Harvey. " And even if tliey did, I don't believe
everybody would go, and why didn't the dog fol-
low when he had the chance ? It's very strange."
He noted that his words were having a depress-
ing effect, and added, " but we're very comfor-
table now so what's the use of bothering our
heads ? The storm will let up presently and
away we'll go all right." He wondered, however,
how they would be able to find their way home
if there was no one to direct them.
The dog was still moaning which made Marian
spring to her feet.
"I've got to do something for him. I can't
stand his howling so. I'm going to try catching
some rain water for him."
" I'd like a drink, too," said Julia, and went
with Marian into the middle room for the broken
pitcher. They emptied some stale water which
they found in the pitcher ; then they went into
the kitchen and removed the log from the door.
The wind slammed the door open and a gush of
wind and rain struck the girls squarely in the
"The storm's growing worse instead of bet-
ter," said Marian as she stood in the doorway
trying to clean the pitcher before setting it out-
" I feel sorry for our horses, but the trees will
Harvey Brings Watch to Beth 131
In a very short while the pitcher was ahuost
filled. "While Marian carried it in, Julia hastily
replaced the log.
The three children enjoyed a drink and gave
the dog what was left, after which he settled
down on the hearth beside them.
Marian looked dreamily at the fire. " It must
be supper- time. I wonder if they'll wait for us.
Just think how we were feasting last night at
" We'd better not think of it. Water is a
pretty poor substitute for food when one's
hungry," sighed Julia.
The dog had fallen into a troubled slumber,
but he moaned even in his sleep.
A sudden noise outside brought all three
children to their feet instantly. The dog wak-
ened, but only looked expectant.
" They're coming home," whispered Julia.
"Suppose they're robbers," ventured Marian.
"I don't see anything to steal. It sounds to
me like horses stamping around.
"Mavbe some one's after our horses. What
would we do then ? I don't believe we ever
could find our way home on foot."
Now that they were all listening so intently,
they noted anew how the wind shrieked around
the cabin and finally drowned the other noise.
"We might be murdered and the folks at
132 A Maid of the Mountains
home would never know what had become of
us," said fearful Marian.
"Nonsense," but Harvey felt less confident
than he pretended. Nevertheless, he walked
over to the window and tried to peer out, but it
was too dark to distinguish anything. Julia
glided to his side.
" Harve, come away. Even if we can't see
them, they can see us and might shoot —
A sudden crash in the back room made her
finish with a scream. She almost felt as if she
had been shot.
" They're coming through the kitchen. What
shall we do ? " Marian rushed over beside them,
and the three stood huddled together, trembling
greatly, uncertain what new calamity to expect,
and too startled to move.
There was no doubt about the kitchen door
being open. They knew it by the cold wind
that blew in on them. The dog, after a moment
or two, settled back on the hearth as if to con-
tinue his nap.
"There can't be any one in there or he
wouldn't take it so calmly," whispered Marian.
" Let's go and see," proposed Harvey.
The three on tiptoe sneaked to the threshold
of the kitchen. The wind shrieked so wildly
through the open door that they could not tell
if any one had been there.
Harvey Brings Watch to Beth 133
** What are you doing ? " demanded Harvey,
assuming very manly tones.
Wlien they received no reply, Julia confessed :
" I may have been careless about the log when
we brought the water in, and the wind must
have blown it down," and she walked boldly
over and slammed the door shut. Harvey, fol-
lowing close beside her, replaced the log against
" We're nervous enough to imagine anything,"
which was a good deal for him to acknowledge.
"I believe the noise outside was only our own
animals stamping around, frightened by the
They returned to the front room a somewhat
subdued trio. As the fire was getting low,
Harvev threw on the last loo^ of wood.
" What shall we do when that burns out ? "
thought Marian. " It'll be awful in the dark."
Aloud she said, " I believe we might better have
gone on in the storm. They'll be awfully scared
" We couldn't have done it. It's too bad a
storm. Just listen how it's pouring now."
" Maybe this is the clearing rain," suggested
" Well, just as soon as it lets up in the least
bit, we'll try to get home."
Too dispirited to talk about anything but their
134 -^ ilfar'c/ of the Mountains
adventure, they gazed for a while in silence at the
flames, fast dying down. Hunger made them
more miserable, and the dog groaning in his
sleep did not add any cheer. Julia yawned, and
presently the others were doing likewise.
" If I wasn't scared, I'd be sleepy," confessed
Julia after another yawn.
" And so would I," agreed Marian.
Harvey slipped off his coat.
" What are you doing that for, Harve ? '*
" So you girls can have it for a pillow. Hon-
estly, I'll be plenty warm without it."
" I couldn't possibly sleep."
" Well it will not hurt you to rest. We'll be
starting soon now, and you'll need all your
strength to reach home. So just try to please
" I'll use the dog for a pillow," answered
Marian, settling down beside him.
" That's cruelty to animals," declared Harvey.
*' I really don't want the coat and you must take
Thus persuaded the girls accepted his kindly
offer, and with their arms twined about each
other lay down beside the dog with their heads
on the coat.
"This is nice, Harve," murmured Marian
" Don't talk," he said, adding, " I'm going to
Harvey Brings Watch to Beth 135
rest myself." He had no such intention but
hoped the girls would sleep if he did not talk.
Although they had not expected to sleep,
neither remembered anything more until Harvey
*' Girls, the storm is over. We had better go,"
were the welcome words they heard as conscious-
ness returned. For a moment they were some-
what confused as the fire had died out and left
them completely in the dark.
" Have we really and truly been asleep ? "
cried Marian, jumping up. Julia only rubbed
her eyes trying to waken fully.
" Well, I should say you had been sleeping — it
seemed hours to me."
" And you were awake all the time ? That
was brave of you, Harve. I wouldn't have
watched by myself."
" Has it really cleared ? " asked Julia who was
now standing and stretching her arms.
"The stars are out. Shall we take the dog
with us ? "
" Yes, yes," cried the girls together, and
Marian added, " Poor fellow, you shan't starve.
We'll feed you up well, and then send you
She coaxed the dog to the door with her, but
he would not follow a step farther, coax as much
as they all would.
** How very faithful he is even if his people do
13^ A Maid of the Mountains
treat him so badly. I fear we'll have to leave
him," said Marian regretfully. "Perhaps it
would be wrong to coax him away even if we
Meantime Harvey had gone over to unhitch
" E-ueur's gone ! " he cried.
The girls did not even stop to bid the dog
good-bye. They slammed the door shut and
hurried over beside Harvey. No single trace of
the mule was discernible, the rain having washed
all tracks away. One of the horses whinnied as
if he wished to tell something.
" He was stolen when we heard the noise,"
" More likely he was frightened by the storm
and broke loose. Mules are very strong. I
reckon it was he we heard tramping around. I
wish I had come out here at the time. I'm
ashamed of myself to think I was such a coward."
" We were worse than you. What shall we
"We'll have to ride double. Julia, being
lighter, had better go with me on the stronger
" If we only knew the way home, this would
be fun," declared Julia a moment later, mounted
behind Harvey. They decided to retrace their
steps back to the main road as riding through
the woods was " spooky," as they expressed it.
Harvey Brings Watch to Beth 137
A howl from the cabin back of them caused
Marian's heart to sink.
'' Poor old fellow, he misses us terribly. Why
wouldn't he come with us ? "
For a short distance riding was easy because
of the carpet of pine needles over the path, but,
once on the clay road, the horses had to be very
careful of their footing as the storm had wrought
havoc there. The children chose the turn un-
traveled by them, hoping to come upon some
cabin, and they were not disappointed. After
riding about a quarter of a mile suddenly on the
left they beheld a hut, but in which gleamed no
"Perhaps it's deserted like the others," said
" "Well if any one's within, PU soon rouse them,'*
answered Harvey as he hurriedly alighted and
walked boldly up to the door.
At first he received no response, but just as he
was about to give up, some one within growled :
" What's wanted ? Xice time of night to rout
a feller out of bed."
Harvey had lost track of time but knew that
it could not be very late, and then he remembered
that mountaineers kept early hours.
a "VVe're lost. We want to know how to reach
The door opened cautiously and a tousled head
peeked out at him.
138 A Maid of the Mountains
" Lost, be ye ? — Why, you uns be nothin' but
children. Whar war ye in the storm ? "
Harvey answered by a counter question.
" Can you tell us what's become of all the
people in the little settlement back here in the
woods ? "
"They're all gone — all gone," repeated the
" Deserted the place ? "
" No — dead. Dead of smallpox, an' what was
" Smallpox ? " repeated Harvey, too horrified
for more questioning.
" Oh, Julia, smallpox," gasped Marian, who had
Julia said nothing, but her blood seemed to
" You UHS didn't go in any of them air places,
did ver ? "
Harvey had no time to answer questions.
" I suppose the houses vrere fumigated," he
" Fumigated," repeated the man, " fumigated ?"
Then to cover his ignorance he began to talk
that he might not be questioned. " They came
here to hew logs for the railroad, an' they brought
their wives an' children an' animals, ex-
" There's a dog in one of the houses now," in-
Harvey Brings Watch to Beth 139
" I'd hearn that that thar dawg wuz back.
'Fore the man took down with smallpox, the
dawg an' him war every whar together. The
man had no wife nor chick, only the dawg, an' I
reckon he sot more by him than by any human
bein', for they say as how he wuz a queer chap
not like the rest, an' wuz moighty mum 'bout his
affairs. An' the dawg sot a power by his master.
While the man wuz down with the smallpox,
they say as how the dawg never left his side, an'
when the man died the dawg jes' grieved an'
grieved like a human bein'. Then when what
war left started 'way they tried to take ther dawg
'long with um, but he sneaked 'way somehow an'
come back huntin' his master I reckon. I've
hearn somethin' howlin' when I've been out in
the woods, but 'lowed as how hit moight be
" Please, please go over and coax him away,"
" 'Deed not," answered the man unhesitatingly.
" I ain't no use fer dawgs, an' I won't never go
near them places, nohow."
" Did you see anything of a stray mule ? "
" A stray mule is hit ? " laughed the man.
"An hour or two gone, I looked out jes' 'fore
goin' to bed. Hit wuz stormin' powerful hard,
an' wuz that dark I couldn't make head or tail
of nothin'. Then the sky wuz all lit up fer a
140 A Maid of the Mountains
moment, an' I 'lowed I seen a pair of heels
streakin' toward Landrums. I rubbed my eyes
an' as hit wuz gone, I half reckoned I wuz dreamin',
but hit may have been a mule. But yer wanted
to know how to reach Tremont. I don't see as
how you uns can be lost. Yer've not far to go
to get thar now. Jes' keep right on, an' then
take the first turn to the right an' that takes yer
plum to ther railroad. Thar ride back a "
" Ride back ? " interrupted Harvey.
"Sartain sure. Tremont is back toward the
Harvey could not understand how they had
circled out of their way so far, but he only said,
" Thank you. Good-night."
The man would have liked to question him
more, but Harvey was back in front of Julia and
away before the man had collected his thoughts.
For a moment or two the children rode on
in silence all thinking of what they had just
The trees on either side of the road, water-laden
and wind-shaken, shed great drops, wetting the
riders considerably, although no rain was falling.
Stars were trying to shine through fast scurrying
clouds. Although the wind had quieted some-
what, it still moaned as a discontented animal
in leash, and every once in a while it whirled
madly eastward as if trying to again escape
Harvey Brings Watch to Beth 141
" I hate to have papa and mamma know about
the smallpox," broke out Marian. Her voice sank
to a whisper at the very mention of the dread
plague. " They've had so much care lately, and
now, just as everything was coming along so
splendidly, to have this new worry is a shame."
" Don't let's tell until we're sure we're not go-
ing to have it. Were you girls vaccinated ? I
suppose you were because all the school children
had to be."
" Mine didn't take," Marian murmured.
" Mine took a little."
" Mine took all right. I was terribly sick,"
added Harv^ey. "Don't worry, girls. I don't be-
lieve there's much danger although the man
didn't answer about fumigation. The people
around a civilized country like this wouldn't leave
a house like that open without taking every
" We'll hope not, and I think it a good idea
not to speak of smallpox at home." Another
matter was troubling tender-hearted Marian. " I
can't help worrying about that poor dog. I'll not
be able to sleep to-night thinking of him without
anything to eat. I do wish that man had
promised to go for him. How could he be so
hard-hearted ? "
" I hear some one coming up the road," whis-
pered Julia. "Maybe it's a robber. Let's hide
behind the trees."
142 A Maid of the Mountains
Although for a moment a bend in the road
screened the approaching rider, some one was un-
" Nonsense. There are three of us and so we're
safe," answered Har\rey.
" It's a man on a mule," said Marian.
At the same moment the rider espied them and
cried out :
" Children, are you all safe ? "
"Why papa — it's you, and at first we were
afraid of you. Yes, we're all safe only Kueur's
" Thank God ! " he murmured as he rode up
" Why Mr. Davenport, you're on Rueur," ex-
claimed Harvey, suddenly.
" Yes, a little girl brought him to the house
and we feared something had happened. I was
on my way to Landrums, but we mustn't stop
now. They're in dreadful suspense about you
at home, and we must ride as fast as the slippery
roads will allow."
He turned Kueur in the direction of Tremont,
and hunger so beset the sure-footed mule that he
easily distanced the horses, and would not be held
back, so there was little chance for conversation.
The mere presence of Mr. Davenport so eased the
children's minds that it seemed a very short time
to them before they saw the welcoming gleam of
the home lights.
Harvey Brings Watch to Beth 143
" Chillun, cbillun, am dat yo' ? " called Maggie
from the doorway.
At the sound of their voices, she began shout-
ing, " Missy Beth, dey are safe, dey are come, an'
massa am wid dem. Glory halleluia." She
rushed into the house still shouting. The chil-
dren quickly followed.
Mrs. Davenport ran down to greet them.
Tears that had been held back while she feared
for their safety now forced their way to her
sparkling eyes and one or two even rolled down
her cheeks. It would have been a relief to shout
her joy with Maggie, but instead she hugged all
three of them, and even Harvey was glad to feel
her arms about him.
"Have they really, really come, mamma?"
they heard Beth calling down the stairs. " It's
too good to be true. I can't believe they're safe
until I see them."
" Hello, Beth," cried Harvey skipping up the
stairs two steps at a time. The girls and Mrs.
Davenport were not far behind.
" Oh, I'm so glad you've come ! Why I'm so
happy over it, I'd like to dance."
" I'll dance for you. Missy Beth," cried Gustus,
taking the centre of the floor and shuffling his
Her eyes rested on him reprovingly. " You
said something would happen, Gustus, and now
they're here all right, signs or no signs."
144 -^ ^^^^ ^f ^^^ Mountains
For an instant he was nonplused. " Dem
signs, Missy Beth — dem shurely meant some-
thin'. What 'bout dat mule comin' back widout
any one on him — what 'bout dat ? "
" He got loose, that's all," answered Marian.
" We have just heaps to tell only we're starved."
" Maggie has kept your supper warm, and
you'd better go right down to eat it," said Mrs.
"You'll all come back the minute you're
through and tell me everything that's happened,
won't you ? " begged Beth.
They promised, and then hurried down to their
" You must come down with us, Carol," in-
sisted Mrs. Davenport.
" I hain't one mite hungry," she answered, but
later she disproved her words by eating all of
Mr. Davenport's bountiful helping.
" It was very brave of you to come through
the dark and storm to tell us about Kueur,
Carol," said Mrs. Davenport, remembering she
had not thanked the girl.
Carol flushed, evidently pleased. " I did hit
'cause of yer gal," she muttered. " She was rale
good to me to-day, an' I like her."
Beth's parents exchanged glances, glad that
their little daughter won hearts easily.
Carol would have departed when they rose
from the table had they not insisted upon ho
Harvey Brings Watch to Beth 145
going with them a while to Beth's room. They
knew that her people would not worry as they
supposed she was still at Landrums.
Even Gustus and Maggie went up-stairs to
hear what had befallen the children. All three
took turns in relating their adventure.
" It was risky your breaking in the cabin the
way you did," said Mr. Davenport when they
came to that part. " It is a hanging offense to
break in a house here in North Carolina. They're
as strict about it as they are about murder.
That's the reason so few homes are burglarized
in this state. It's strange that all the cabins
The girls exchanged glances then looked to
Harvey to say something but he was nonplused
for the moment.
" We wondered at it, too, papa," murmured
Marian, anxious to keep their secret.
" Possibly the owners caAie here to do some
special work on the railroad and, when it was
finished, they just deserted their cabins. You
say they were cheap affairs anyway ?"
" That was probably it, Mr. Davenport,"
agreed Harvey quickly.
Marian breathed a sigh of relief.
" Go on about the dog," demanded Beth im-
patient of interruption. Her eyes grew misty as
they told of his pitiful condition.
" And he's starving ? " she murmured. " Oh,
146 A Maid of the Mountains
the poor, poor fellow. I wish he was here.
Can't we send for him ? "
" We'll send to-morrow," promised Mr. Daven-
" But, papa, suppose he died in the night ?
Let's send some one for him now."
" Suppose we send Gustus," proposed Harvey,
his eyes twinkling.
Gustus's eyes began to roll. *' Ko, no, Massa
Harve, yo' wouldn't send me in de dark an' "
" You're not scared, Gustus ? "
" No, no, Massa, Harve," but his teeth chat-
tered. " I — I — it's too far to walk, ain't it, an'
I has no way to go."
" You'd lend him Rueur, wouldn't you, Beth ? "
and Harvey winked at her to see if she was
appreciating the fun with him.
But she was in no mood to enjoy the cowardice
of Gustus. " I'd be only too glad to have any
one take Rueur if they'd only bring that dog
" So, Gustus, there's nothing to keep you now,"
continued Harvey tauntingly.
Gustus scratched his woolly head greatly per-
plexed. He would not acknowledge that he was
afraid to go, and did not know what to answer.
His face lightened with an unexpected solution
of the problem.
" How yo' done specs me to find dat place all
alone when I don't know whar it is ? "
Harvey Brings Watch to Beth 147
" The man was sleeping, and Harve wakened
him," continued Marian who had gone on with
the recital while Harvey teased Gustus.
Carol rose. " Hit makes me 'low I moight
find them all to sleep to hum, so I must be
" I'll see you home," cried Harvey with alacrity.
" Don't yer mind me," began Carol, but he did
not allow her to finish. *' Come on," he called
hurrying from the room, and she meekly fol-
" He's growing suddenly very gallant," com-
mented Marian as the door closed behind the
two. " He's generally bashful with strangers."
" I reckon he feels sorry for Carol. I do,"
said Beth, but quickly added, " I don't know
why I'm sorry though. She says they are to
have heaps and heaps of money. I wonder if
*' I've heard about her folks then," said Mr.
*' Are they to be rich, papa ? "
" I can't say. All I know is that lawyers are
making her father think he's to have vast wealth.
It seems that some branch of the Cornwell
family owned property in Alabama "
" Carol told me that they used to live there,"
interrupted Beth and added, " Tell me all you
know, papa. I'm very much interested in Carol,
and I'm so glad she's " Beth suddenly
148 A Maid of the Mountains
stopped. She was ashamed even to have thought
" Well this property was left to another
branch of the family, and CaroPs grandfather
made no objections as the property was consid-
ered practically worthless, but very recently
rich deposits of iron ore have been discovered on
the land whiich makes it extremely valuable.
Then some lawyer found that there was some
flaw in the title — some ancestor had failed to
sign a deed I believe, or it may not have been
properly witnessed. Anyway the lawyer got
after old man Corn well in Alabama and made
him believe he could get back his share of the
land, and so he carried the matter into court.
He died very suddenly and what little he had was
left to his son up here along with the lawsuit."
" And they're really to have money ? " ques-
" No one can tell as to that. If they win the
case, they'll be very wealthy, but if they lose,
they'll be worse off than ever for the lawyers
are getting what little money Cornwell had, and
the worst of it is that he refuses to work now,
and " but he too stopped suddenly, deciding
that he would not speak of the dark cloud that
hung over Carol through her father.
Beth was so busy picturing Carol with wealth
that she did not notice any break.
" She'll have the fine things she was telling
Harvey Brings Watch to Beth 149
about and take music lessons — I don't believe
she can sing, though. I hope she'll come again,"
she thought, and the romance of the situation
caused her to feel an added interest in the moun-
tain girl. In fact Beth was so absorbed in specu-
lation in regard to Carol that she had to tell all
she had learned from the mountain girl to see
what they would think. Time passed quickly
for all present but Gustus. He alone realized
the lateness of the hour. He yawned and tried
to attract attention to his sleepiness. But
failing by quiet means, he arose and stretched
his arms gaping noisily.
"Why, Gustus, are you sleepy ?" cried Beth,
" I reckon I ought ter be, Missy Beth. 'Peers
like to me it must be powerful late."
"Why it is late," exclaimed Mr. Davenport
looking at his watch.
" I wonder why Harvey don't come," said
Beth. " He can't be staying all this time down
" Perhaps it's storming again," and Marian
walked to one of the French windows at the
end of the room. She opened it and looked out.
" No, it has cleared up for good. The moon
is shining. Why somebody is riding up our
road," she added as she was about to turn away
from the window. " Who can it be so late at
night ? "
150 A Maid of the Mountains
Julia and Gustus ran over to look too.
" Whoebber it am, dey're leadin' somethin',"
muttered Gustus. *' It looks like a bear."
" Hello, girls," called the rider.
" Why it's Harvey, Beth," cried Marian, rush-
ing back into the room. " Where can he have
been, and I wonder what he has with him ? "
Beth's heart beat convulsively. She wondered
if Harvey could have ridden forth to please her,
but then concluded that it was too great an un-
dertaking for him. But just as she had come to
this conclusion, Harvey walked proudly into the
room leading a dog by a rope.
^' Oh, Harve, how good of you," Beth gasped.
" Why it's our dog of the cabin," cried Marian.
She and Julia rushed to the dog's side. He
looked up at them as if pleased to see them
" You rode all alone for him ? That was very
manly of you, Harvey," said Mrs. Davenport.
" It came to me when Beth spoke of being so
very sorry about the dog that I just couldn't
leave him there until morning, for he might have
starved the way she feared," explained Harvey.
" She said any one was welcome to take Rueur,
and when I offered to go with Carol it was all a
bluff. I knew she wouldn't be afraid to go home
alone. She said she wasn't, so I just hurried
down-stairs, to get some food for the dog. Then
I saddled Rueur and rode back to the cabin as
Haroeyi Brings Watch to Beth 151
hard as I could go. I heard the poor old fellow
howling long before I reached the cabin, and I
am mighty glad I didn't wait until morning."
" Was he glad to see you ? " asked Marian, her
" Glad ? Glad is no name for it. He jumped
all over me and gobbled up every bit of the food
I gave him."
" And weren't you afraid going back there all
alone? I wouldn't have gone for the world,"
said Marian with a shudder.
" Kot a bit of it," and Harvey laughed. " I
was thinking all the time how surprised you
would all be, and how glad Beth would be, and
so I was there and back in no time."
" I'm more glad than I can tell. It's about as
nice a thing as I ever had done for me." Beth
also smiled her approval. " What shall we call
the dog ? You name him, Harve."
" How would Watch do ? You know he was
watching for his dead master."
" His dead master ? " repeated Mrs. Daven-
Again Harvey and the girls exchanged
" We thought perhaps his master was dead,"
muttered Harvey. " What do you think of
Watch for a name, Beth ? "
" It's a good name. Come here, Watch,"
152 A Maid of the Mountains
"Now to bed," said Mrs. Davenport, rising.
" Marian, come with me. I wish to speak to you."
Utterly unsuspicious of what was coming,
Marian followed her mother as requested.
" You are keeping something from me. What
is it ? " Mrs. Davenport demanded, facing Marian.
Marian's face crimsoned. " How did you know,
mamma ? "
" I saw you and Harvey exchange glances, and
then I knew by your face."
Marian threw her arms about her mother's
neck. " We didn't want to worry you," she mur-
mured, " but it will not be so hard if you know."
As Mrs. Davenport heard how the people in
the cabins had died of smallpox, she drew Marian
closer. For a moment after Marian had finished,
fighting her own fears, the mother said nothing.
" Suppose they had really been exposed, was it
not her duty to keep them a^vay from Beth ? '*
This was one of the questions she turned over
and over in her mind.
" No," she finally decided, " if there's any danger
of contagion, the damage has already been done,
and we can but hope for the best."
Aloud she said, " We will not tell the others.
There is no use worrying them, and we will not
believe there is danger of contagion for any of
you. The house must have been fumigated. Do
not worry, dear. Good-night and God keep and
The '' Wicked Woman "
The following morning, Beth was again carried
down to the south piazza. She was gaining
strength rapidly. Her face was joyous as she
sat propped up in the hammock, surrounded by
all her pets, the squirrel, Dick, the mocking-bird,
Duke and the new dog, Watch. The latter ap-
peared to like his new home, but Duke was in-
clined to be jealous of any attention shown the
"Duke Davenport, you should just be ashamed
of yourself," said Beth, calling him to her and
shaking her finger reprovingly. He jumped up
placing his two great front paws on the edge of
the hammock and from the way his tail wagged,
he appeared to think his mistress was praising
him. Perhaps it was because her voice was mild
even though scolding him.
" It's very, very naughty to be jealous. I used
to be, and so I know it's wrong, Dukie. Don't
tell, but it's hard not to be sometimes now.
Mamma is teaching me not to be and I must teach
you. Besides you have no cause to be jealous.
I'll always love you the best."
156 A Maid of the Mountains
Duke barked as if he understood.
"Go down now and play with "Watch," she
commanded, pushing him away. He stalked
down beside the new dog and began sniffing at
him as much as to say :
" My mistress wants me to be friends with you.
I'm not sure I can like you, but for her sake I'll
Beth pulled the squirrel up to her and unfasten-
ing the chain, said :
" You can go again, but you must come back at
meal-time like you did yesterday."
Joyously, the squirrel bounded away. At this
moment, Dick, hanging in the cage near Beth,
broke into song and she looked up at him admir-
" You're the finest singer I have ever heard,"
she thought, and then she began to feel sorry for
him because he was a captive.
" Did you ever know what it is to be free,
Dickie bird ? " she asked as he paused an instant.
" No, or you couldn't sing like that," she answered
for him. " I wish I dared let you go free, but
you'd jiever come back, and I'd miss you. We'll
try to make you happy. You shall come out
here every day with me."
Whereupon Dick broke into a new song, and
Carol coming up the hill to visit Beth, paused
" Oh, if I could sing like that, I'd be powerful
The ''Wicked Woman " 157
glad," she murmured, drinking in greedily every
Beth, did not see her as her attention was taken
up by sight of Harvey, Marian and Julia on horse-
" You're off, are you ? " she called.
" Yes, we had to get an early start as we're to
hunt up chickens and eggs this morning,"
answered Marian. " Don't get lonely while we're
" Don't you get lost to-day," was Beth's parting
Watch started to follow the riders, and Beth
began calling him, but, as he was unaccustomed
to his new name, he did not heed her.
Carol came to her rescue by chasing the dog
and brino^ino^ him back to Beth.
"Thank you, Carol. I was afraid he'd get
lost. I'm glad to see you," said Beth as Carol
stood panting before her, holding Watch by the
collar that Beth had placed on him before letting
" Whar did yer get him ? He looks like a
purp of Brune's that a man who came to work
on the railroad got from we uns."
Beth explained how Watch had been brought
by Harvey the night before.
" He's Brune's purp sartain sure." She patted
his head as she spoke and then called, " Brune,
Brune, come an' see yer son ! '^
158 A Maid of the Mountains
Brune, always within hailing distance of her
voice, bounded into sight, and Watch broke free
from Carol's hold to run down beside Brune,
greeting him as if he knew the relationship
"• Look, he knows Brune an' Brune knows
him ! " cried Carol delightedly. " He'll be a
good dawg if he's anythin' like his pap.
Here's a present fer yer," she added drawing
a soiled red ribbon from her pocket. " A lady
gave hit to me onct, an' I sot a power by hit,
but I wants yer to have hit."
Beth drew back. " Oh, Carol, I'd rather have
you keep it."
Carol looked disappointed. " Perhaps yer
don't think hit nice."
" It's not that." Beth hated to hurt her feel-
ings and added, " I always like red."
*' Yer must take hit then," and the ribbon was
thrust down beside Beth who began turning
over in her mind what she should give Carol
The two girls were so intent on their own
affairs that they had not noticed the approach of
a lady on horseback, but the three dogs leaped
out into the path before the rider and barked.
" Oh, Mrs. Morton, I'm so glad to see you,"
cried Beth, delightedly.
Carol arose, intending to sneak away.
" Why, that dog looks like one my husband
The '* Wicked Woman *' 159
lost up in these mountains a few years ago ! "
exclaimed Mrs. Morton pointing to Carol's dog.
" His name was Brune."
For a moment Carol stood like one paralyzed.
Her face grew so very white that she seemed to
have no vitality left ; then this inaction gave
place to a frenzy of passion. She flew down the
steps like one possessed while her eyes blazed.
" Yer shan't take my dawg," she cried, clinch-
ing her hands. " Brune's mine, he's my dawg.
Come away, Brune. We'll hide from that wicked
woman," and down the hill she started with
Brune close after her.
At first Beth was too surprised to speak.
" Call her back," commanded Mrs. Morton.
" Carol, don't run away. Please come back,"
Unshaken in her resolve to keep Brune at any
cost, Carol ran desperately fast until she no
longer heard Beth calling except in imagination.
Gasping, she drew Brune close to her, and
sinking down on the ground beside him, threw
her arms about him, weeping as if fearful he
would be torn from her any instant.
"She shan't take yer from me. We'll run far
'wav where that wicked, wucked woman kin
never find us." She arose and started toward
the mountains as if to carry her threat into im-
mediate effect. With every step, it seemed as if
she heard Beth calling, calling. Again she threw
i6o A Maid of the Mountains
herself down by Brune, sobbing even more
convulsively. As if sharing her fear, he
" She'll never like me no more," Carol thought
with Beth's call tugging at her heart. " But I
can't go back, an' give my dawg up. I can't
Once more she trudged on a lictle way, but
all the while her love for Beth was urging her to
"Maybe the wicked woman wouldn't take
Brune from me if she knew as how I loved him."
Again she turned to the dog. " I'd go to jail
'fore I'd let any one take yer from me," she
murmured. " Brune, I don't want yer to follow
me. Yer must lie here till I cum fer yer, an'
then if we can't stay rightly together, we'll run
far 'way. That's right, lie still."
Several times on the way back she would have
rejoined Brune if love for Beth had not strength-
ened her toward right doing.
The sight of Mrs. Morton, or the "wicked
woman " as she still termed her, talking earnestly
to Beth, enraged Carol anew so that she would
have again fled if Beth had not caught sight of
her dress among the trees.
"Carol, I'm so glad you've come back."
As Carol sidled toward the porch, sobs choked
her ; her eyes were so blurred that she could see
hardly a step ahead. So frightened was she that
The ''Wicked Woman " 161
her knees gave way, causing her to fall limply
down at the foot of the steps.
" Don't take my dawg, don't take Brune," she
sobbed. " He's 'bout all I have to love in all the
world. I love him, I do."
Until this moment, Mrs. Morton had fully in-
tended to claim the dog, principally because of
Carol's defiant attitude, and even Beth thought
Carol in the wrong, but her evident grief melted
both their hearts.
" Haven't you parents ? " questioned Mrs.
" Yes, but — but paw, he — he " — Carol meant
to tell how he ill-treated them all, hoping to
gain sympathy so that she could keep Brune,
but pride held the confession back. " Only let
me keep Brune, an' I'll work fer yer," she
pleaded. When Mrs. Morton did not answer
immediately, Carol added defiantly, "Yer kin
send me to jail, only I must keep him." Sud-
denly a new inspiration came to her. " Don't
take Brune, an' I'll give yer all my money when
hit comes. "We're to have heaps, 'though we
hain't much now. Please, please let me keep
" Brune is yours. I give him to you," an-
swered Mrs. Morton.
The reaction made Carol hysterically happy ;
her face was transfigured.
" Oh, oh, oh," she sobbed and laughed. " I —
i62 A Maid of the Mountains
I can't help hit 'cause now no one never kin take
Brune from me ! " She sprang up the steps be-
side Mrs. Morton and seizing her hand kissed it
over and over.
" Forgive me," she sobbed. " I called yer a
wicked woman an' I'm the wicked one. I wish
I could make yer as happy as yer have made
me. Ye're the nicest woman in the world, onlv
yer look powerful sad. Is thar any thin' I kin do
fer yer ? "
Mrs. Morton's face twitched convulsively.
" No one can help me," she murmured. To hide
the tears that welled over as she spoke, she turned
hastily toward the house.
" I am going in to see your mother a moment,
"Did I say somethin' as I hadn't ort to?"
" She has just lost her little baby girl — her
Carol was distressed. " I'm rale sorry ; rale,
rale sorrv. Isn't thar somethin' I kin do fer her
fer givin' me back Brune ? I love her 'cause she
" If there's ever anything she wants done, I'll
let you know, Carol."
" An' I'd do hit no matter how hard hit'd be."
Morning after morning, Carol came to keep
Beth company, but she always waited until the
riders had departed, and then bobbed up in the
most unexpected manner. She seldom came
empty-handed. Sometimes, she only had a
flower, picked on the way ; other times, it was
some knickknack that she treasured, articles ut-
terly useless in themselves, but very precious in
the eyes of Carol. Beth rebelled over accepting
such gifts, still her protests proved of little avail.
" Rich folks always give presents," she an-
swered when Beth objected. " 'Sides I love yer
an' love to give yer things."
Not only did she bring her offerings to Beth,
but she brought others to send Mrs. Morton.
" She's rich like you, an' don't have no use for
the presents I send, but it 'peers like to me that
the love thoughts I send 'long with the things
may help her," confided Carol to Beth, and
when Beth repeated this to Mrs. Morton, the
lonely woman was so pleased that she resolved
to help the little waif of the mountains if she
i66 A Maid of the Mountains
On these morning visits of Carol's, the two
girls were always surrounded by their pets.
The squirrel alone ran away from them, but in-
variably, exactly at meal time, it reappeared.
" How do you suppose it knows when to come
back ? It has no time like us to go by," said
Beth to Carol.
" Hit's like me, I reckon. I hain't never had
no time to go by, but my stomach tells me when
hit's time to eat. Animals don't need to larn
sech things. Look at Dickie thar. He never
had no lessons, but he's as good as any singer
that's had lessons an' lessons. He jes' keeps his
ears open an' then lets forth. That's the way to
In truth, Dickie was proving not only a
wonderful vocalist, but a great mimic. Both
Beth and Carol were intensely interested in
watching the progress he made.
His first achievement was to mimic the roost-
ers and hens. The girls could hardly believe the
sounds did not come from the hen-house when
he startled them with a crow and then a cackle.
" I 'most 'spected to see him flap his wings,"
announced Carol the second time he crowed.
The pussy that Gustus had was very playful,
but it mewed a great deal as it was always
hungry and that was the only way it had of call-
ing attention to its wants. Beth always knew
when it was around by its cry.
" Meow, meow," heard Beth and Carol as they
were deeply absorbed in playing with Beth's
" Here kitty, kitty, kitty," called Beth, but no
kitty jumped up as usual on the hammock with
" Meow, meow."
" Where is kitty ? I can't see her any place,"
*' Hit hain't kitty. Hit's Dickie."
Another morning, before Carol had appeared,
the children rode around as usual to bid Beth
good-bye. As the horses neared the piazza, one
of them whinnied. Dick cocked his wise little
head to listen. The horse whinnied the second
time, and Dick heeded even more intently.
" Oh, Beth ! " exclaimed Marian, " we've some-
thing perfectly lovely to tell you. Mamma thinks
all danger of our hanng the smallpox is past. "
" Smallpox," repeated Beth blankly.
Marian laughed gayly. " Oh, I forgot you didn't
know," and then she explained how they had
been exposed the night they were lost.
After they had ridden away, Beth lay in the
hammock with deep gratitude in her heart that
nothing worse than a scare had followed that
Suddenly she was startled by a whinny. She
looked to see if they were returning, but there
was no sign of horse, mule or human being. She
i68 A Maid of the Mountains
thought she must have imagined the sound, but
again she heard a whinny just like the one the
horse had made a few minutes before. But still
no horse was in sight, and so she decided that it
must have come from a distance, and sounded so
near because of the wonderful mountain air.
Just as she accepted this solution, for the third
time she heard the whinny and it was unmistak-
*' Hit's Dickie ! Hit's Dickie ! " cried Carol,
emerging from behind a tree where she had been
watching. " I know hit's him," she continued as
she rushed up on the piazza. " I saw him with
my own eyes."
That it was Dick seemed incredible to Beth,
until being so pleased over his new accomplish-
ment, he whinnied once more.
" It is Dick," cried Beth so delighted that she
clapped her hands as if she expected an encore.
" Isn't he wonderful ? IS'ext to Duke, I love him
the best of any of my pets."
" I've another pet for yer. I'll be back in no
Beth tried to detain her, but she would not
heed. Dick broke forth into a joyous flood of
song, and Beth so sympathized with his mood
that she sang also. Besides her joy in the mock-
ing-bird, she had great cause for rejoicing. She
was just beginning to walk around a little by
herself and there was never a happier or prouder
Don 1 69
girl than she to think that soon she would need
no more waiting on, but could do things for her-
self and go around like other girls.
" I wonder what I can get for Carol ? " thought
Beth as she saw her coming back up the hill
carrying something in her hand that was covered
with a cloth and which on nearer view proved to
be a cage.
^' What are you doing with that, Carol ? "
questioned Beth not dreaming it could be the
present for her.
"Hit's my robin." Carol looked very impor-
tant. " I've had hit most a year, an' hit am a
powerful nice singer, but not rale peart like Dickie
thar, but I 'low as how Don'll larn some from
Dickie, an' I'll think on that if I ever miss him."
" She wants to give me even her beloved robin.
What shall I do?" thought Beth. Carol had
told her how greatly she prized the bird, and
Beth felt that she could not accept such a gift.
^' It was nice of you to bring it over to visit
Dickie and me," she said aloud.
Carol looked distressed. " I reckoned as how
yer'd keep Don."
" Let me see Don." Beth purposely evaded
the question of accepting the gift. Past tilts
with Carol in which she had been routed made
her dread defeat.
As Carol drew off the cloth, there was a gleam
in her blue eyes that caused Beth's heart to
170 A Maid of the Mountains
sink. Carol, did not intend to be kept from her
" Hit am pretty to look on, hain't hit ? " asked
Carol, placing the uncovered cage on a table beside
Beth. "' An' if hit don't sing as nice as Dickie,
hit'll surely larn by bein' here with him."
Beth started to reply, but a warning finger was
held up for, as the sunlight flooded Don's cage,
he cocked his head on one side.
" Hush, he's goin' to sing," whispered Carol,
At that instant, Dickie, with an eye on the new-
comer, broke into song, so joyous, so beautiful,
that even Beth, accustomed to wonderful trills
and runs from the fine little singer, was
astonished ; while as for Don, he looked up in
evident wonderment and envy. He had never
even dreamed of such music before. The song in
his own throat was hushed to listen and marvel.
" Dickie's pleased to see Don," whispered Beth
fearing that it might not be real polite of her bird
to interrupt the visitor, and that Carol might feel
Carol did not seem to mind. She smiled
happily. " Don's listenin' to larn. Dickie'll
give him lessons all the time. I'm so glad ye're to
have Don. I "
Beth faced her with determination not to yield
" But Carol, I can't keep your "
"Oh, yes, yer kin." Carol looked at her so
pleadingly that she had to reassure herself that
she was in the right not to relent a little.
" My maw won't be bothered with Don ; she
says I've got to get rid of him, an' hit'll be a rale
kindness if yer'll keep him for me. I'd hate to
let him fly away."
" I might sell him for you."
" Sell him ? " tears rose to her eyes, and affected
also her voice. " I love him too much fer that.
If yer won't take him fer me, I'll have to let him
go. Please, please take him, I'd miss him so if I
bad to let him go."
" But you'd miss him if I took him."
" Then I'd see him every day, an' hit'll be a
comfort to think of him with some one I love.
Yer won't make me cry by not keepin' him ?
Please, please let Don stay fer hit'll make me an'
him rale happy."
What could Beth do in the face of such insist-
ent pleading ? However, she did not accept out-
" I'll keep him for you until your money comes,"
she said for she had grown to think that Carol
was to have the money she so confidently ex-
pected. "Your mother cannot object to your
having him then." Then she added, " haven't
you a doll, Carol ? I've never seen you with one
of your own."
" Me have a doll ? " repeated Carol. " I never
172 A Maid of the Mountains
had none, but I'll have all I want when I'm rich.
I'll have one with dark curlin' hair like yourn,
an' brown eyes, an' I'll dress hit like a lady."
Beth immediately decided to send to Spartan-
burg for such a doll, but she said nothing of her
intention as she wished it for a surprise.
The following morning, Carol was over earlier
than usual to see how her pet was behaving.
" I believe Don's homesick," announced Beth
in greeting. " He hasn't sung a mite, but
Dickie's very happy over having him here. He
sings almost every minute of the time. Just hear
him now, and see how Don watches him."
" Don's takin' lessons," insisted Carol. " Jes'
as I'm goin' to do when we get our money."
Day by day, Don continued his unwonted
silence, and Dickie sang most of the time. The
coming of Don taught Dickie a word. Beth
felt sorry for the robin, and talked to him quite
a little calling him often by name. She did not
realize that Dickie was listening, but all at once
he commenced calling, " Don, Don."
Sometimes Beth closed the windows of the
library, and allowed the birds a taste of liberty.
They enjoyed flying around the room immensely,
but when tired they willingly reentered their
One morning just as Beth had freed the birds,
Carol appeared at the front window. Not
observing what Beth was doing, she tried the
window and, finding it unlocked, swung it open
quietly, and was inside the room before Beth
" Oh, Carol, close it, close it ! " cried Beth.
Carol sprang back to do as she was bid, but
the warning came too late. Out through the
open window flew Dickie. Don was intent on
following, but Carol slammed the window shut
just in time to save him.
Beth sank down on the floor in a heap, and
broke into a storm of sobs. " Oh, my Dickie
bird. I'll never see him again. Oh, dear, oh,
dear ! "
Carol looked completely crushed. ]N"ever had
she been more scared.
u Yer'll never like me no more," she moaned,
" no more at all."
Beth did not even heed, being too grieved to
think of anything but her own loss.
A flood of melody, very faint because of the
closed windows, attracted Carol's attention.
Without a word, she managed to drive Don into
his cage, then went toward the window.
" What are you going to do ? " questioned
Beth through her sobs.
"I'm goin' after yer bird."
" It's no use. You can't catch him. I'll never
see him again."
Nevertheless, Carol rushed from the room.
Beth arose and walked listlessly out on the piazza.
174 -^ Mdid of the Mountains
High up in one of the pines was Dickie sing-
ing, ohj so joyously. Carol intended to climb up
after the bird, but he caught a glimpse of his pur-
suer and flew on to the next tree. Carol chased
after. Dickie swooped down on a rhododendron
bush, and looked back as much as to say :
" Come on, little girl. It's fun to have you
Breathlessly, she accepted the challenge, and
Dickie allowed her to come within reaching
distance. Her heart was in tumult at thought
of capturing the bird, and cautiously she stretched
out her hand. In fact it just grazed the out-
stretched wings, and then with a chirrup Dickie
was off again. On and on he led her, often
allowing her to come so near that escape seemed
improbable, but ever the bird just eluded her
Meanwhile, Beth brought Don out and hung
his cage in Dickie's place.
" If one had to go, why couldn't it have been
the silent one," she wondered, and tears still
trembled on her lashes.
The robin looked around as if seeking the
mocking-bird, but the rival songster was far
away by this time, and no warbling greeted Don
as usual. Suddenly he drew his little body to
full size and his throat swelled. Low and sweet
he broke forth into song. At first his notes
trembled on the air as if he feared to be
silenced, but when he found that no master's
song was to drown his effort, he gained courage.
His notes deepened and flowed forth with as
much sweetness, with almost as great certainty,
with almost as much triumph as had Dickie's
own. Many of his runs and trills were copied
from his rival.
Beth almost felt as if her mocking-bird had
returned. She stood breathless for fear the
robin would become silent again.
" Oh, if Carol could only hear," she thought.
" It's as she said. Don was afraid to sing until
now, but he has been taking lessons from my
bird. I do wish she would come back. She'll
never be able to catch Dickie. She thinks I
blame her, but she didn't mean to let him go."
All morning she watched for Carol. Never-
theless, her hitherto unfailing visitor did not
return. In the afternoon, too, she waited on the
porch, only to be disappointed when nightfall
drove her into the house, and she had seen
nothing of the mountain girl.
Before the curtains were drawn, Beth stood
by her window a moment and looked longingly
down toward the hollow.
If her eyes could have pierced the twilight,
she would have seen a dejected little figure
dragging her weary feet homeward. All day
Carol had kept up the pursuit, and only at dusk
did she acknowledge herself defeated. Near her
ly^ A Maid of the Mountains
cabin home, she sank down on a stone, with
faithful Brune still beside her.
" Brune," she murmured brokenly, " ye're
the only one who loves me."
He licked her hand to comfort her if he could.
Carol was too tired and too dejected to feel
intensely. Her eyes burned, but the tears in
them were dried up.
" Hit's no use, Brune," she continued. " I
love her, an' would do anythin' fer her, an' I've
hurt her dreadful. The only thing fer us to do
is to keep 'way," She rose as if there was no
more that could be said on the subject. Then
her eyes were attracted by the lamps that were
being lighted in the house on the hill. Even
through the trees, she caught a glimpse of Beth
at the window, and the numb feeling that
checked her tears gave way.
"Oh, Brune thar she air," she sobbed, "an'
she'll never like me no more nohow. Even
when our money comes, I cain't be like her no-
ways. Hit hain't in me er I wouldn't hurt her
dreadful when I loves her so. She never hurts
me, an' she don't love me like I love her. She
loved Dickie more 'n she ever did me. We must
keep 'way, Brune."
Watching until Beth pulled down the shade,
Carol threw herself face downward on the
ground feeling as if she was being barred from
Paradise, and there she lay crying hopelessly.
An Angel of Merc^
" Let's make candy," suggested Marian one
afternoon when she and Julia were sitting on the
" All right," answered Julia enthusiastically.
Thereupon both girls proceeded to the kitchen
where they spent a busy but happy hour
in the mysteries of candy-making. Bob, a
friend of Gustus had just arrived in search of
Gustus and while the girls were letting the
candy harden on the floor of the kitchen shed,
Gustus burst in.
" Miss Marian, Missy Beth wants yo' up in
her room. A package done come from Spartan-
burg," announced Gustus from the kitchen door.
Marian and Julia both sprang up.
" It's the doll," they cried, forgetting the candy
and rushing away up-stairs.
Gustus and Bob both eyed the candy greedily.
The girls had cut it in squares, but had not taken
" Yo' don't specs any, do yo', yo' sassy nigger
yo' ? " demanded Gustus fiercely of Bob. *' I'll
i8o A Maid of the Mountains
jes' take it up-stairs, an' mebbe dey'll thinks
yo' guv me some.''
Up from the floor be grabbed the two plat-
ters carrying them up to Beth's room.
She had just taken a beautiful doll from an
" Do you think Carol will care for it ? " she
asked, wistfully, holding out the doll for inspec-
" Like it ? " repeated Marian. " Why, she'll
be too overcome for anything. It's the prettiest
doll I ever saw."
While pleased, Beth was still heavy-hearted.
" She hasn't been here since Dickie flew away,
and no one knows how much I miss her," she
Aloud she said : " I'd like to dress the doll for
" I'll help," promised Marian, impulsively.
" So will I," added Julia.
" You're awfully good, both of you, and I'd
like help cutting the things out, but I'd rather
make them all by myself."
Gustus considered it high time that they were
" If it hadn't been fur me, de dogs could have
eaten all dis candy."
^' I'd forgotten all about it," cried Marian, and
observing his hungry look added, " You shall
have some candy, Gustus."
>' T ■.^™'
Let's Make Candy "
An Angel of Mercy 181
Materials for the doll's garments were hunted
up, and soon were cut out. As Mrs. Davenport
would not allow Beth to work too steadily, the
doll was not ready for a week.
" How am I to get it to her ? " asked Beth.
" Send Gustus down."
Beth's face fell. " I want to give it to her
So they decided to have Gustus ask Carol to
" Gustus," Beth said when he was ready to
start on the errand, " don't say a word about the
" Bo 'deed. Missy Beth. Yo' ought to keep
dat fine lady doll yo' own self." He was some-
what inclined to be jealous of Carol.
" And Gustus, tell her that I don't mind much
about Dickie now. I know he's enjoying his
freedom. Every once in a while I hear him sing-
ing in the woods."
Gustus nodded his head. " Dat's so. Missy
Beth. I hears him too. Shall I tell her 'bout
Don ? "
" Yes. Tell her he sings almost as well as
Dickie did. That will bring her sure. Hurry
While he was gone she thought of Carol, and
it came to her that perhaps it was more than the
loss of the bird that was keeping her friend
i82 A Maid of the Mountains
" Maybe their money has come, and she's wait-
ing to surprise me," she thought. " She told me
that some day she'd come up here dressed so fine
I wouldn't know her. If she has all the money
she says, she may get proud, but I don't believe
it of Carol, and she'll like the doll even if she
Her heart sank when she noted Gustus return-
" Where's Carol ? " she demanded eagerly
when he was in hailing distance.
" Dunno," he answered stupidly. " She didn't
say much. De doctor was thar."
Beth looked startled. " She's not sick ? "
" Not as I knowed on, 'though she looked
peaked like, an' acted powerful queer. Wouldn't
tell me nothin' nohow."
" Wouldn't she come even when you told her
I wanted her ? " repeated Beth more grieved
than she would show.
" Said she moight hav' to come some day.
Dem war her own words."
Pride kept Beth from sending again. Never-
theless, when two more days passed without any
sign of Carol, Beth was not only mystified but
resolved to go down herself as soon as her
mother would permit.
" I'll ask if I can't go to-day," she thought on
the third morning as the riders departed.
At the same moment Carol sneaked up on the
An Angel of Merc^ 183
steps, and dropped down on the topmost one
against the post. She would not face Beth, but
in a fleeting glimpse that Beth caught, Carol
looked older and seemed unhappy.
" Hit's come," she announced.
Beth noted that she wore the same old clothes,
and that she did not appear triumphant. In fact
her whole attitude expressed dejection as well as
her voice, notwithstanding which her words con-
veyed only one possible meaning to Beth.
^' What's come ? Your money ? " she de-
Carol shook her head sadly, without a word.
Beth could not imagine why Carol acted the
way she did unless she was still brooding over
" Anyway, she's sad over something, but the
doll will make her glad," she thought and so she
brought it out.
" Isn't this a pretty doll, Carol ? " she asked.
" I dressed her aU myself."
Still Carol appeared no less listless. She only
gave a fleeting glance at the doll nodding her
" Do you like it ? " demanded Beth eagerly,
thinking that she was overcome with the gran-
deur of the fine iady.
" Hit am rale peart-like," but she said it with so
little enthusiasm that Beth grew impatient.
" I think you might say something nice about
184 A Maid of the Mountains
it after I've had so much trouble dressing it.
Wouldn't you like to own this doll for your very
Much to Beth's surprise and disgust, Carol
shook her head.
" You wouldn't like to own it ? Why not ? "
" Hit's only for fine ladies like yer," she mut-
At first Beth was inclined to be angry, but
Carol's manner was so puzzling that she resolved
to fathom the mystery.
" You've always told me that you are to be a
All at once Carol's stolidity gave way, and she
broke into a passion of sobs. Beth hurried to
'•'• Why, Carol, what's happened ? "
But feelinff so overmastered Carol that she
could not answer. Her breath came in gasps,
while tears splashed down her face so fast that
she could not keep them wiped away though she
" Hush, hush, dear. If you tell me, it may
help you," continued Beth, trying to comfort her
the way her own mother comforted.
" I hain't never to be no lady," Carol finally
blurted out. " We uns hain't to have no money,
an' we hain't none at all. Paw hain't been home
fer a week. When he hearn the news hit done
druv him to drink worser than ever, an' maw's sick.
An Angel of Merc^ 185
awful sick, an' we've got a three days old little
babby gal at our place. We hain't no food, an'
no one'll trust us now that we're not to have
money. I cum to see if yer maw '11 let me do
washin' for you alls."
Such a flood of misfortune overcame Beth.
For a moment she could think of no comfort to
offer. She simply stared helplessly at Carol
while her heart sank more and more. The idea
of such a young girl doing washing was both
ridiculous and pathetic.
As Beth looked from the poorly clad girl to the
finely dressed doll that she still held, she re-
pented having spent her money on a useless gift.
Kever before had she realized that Carol could
ever be in actual want for the bare necessities of
life. Her silence made Carol more miserable.
" I wouldn't have cum to yer, if they all hadn't
been so hungry to hum. Do yer reckon 3"er
maw '11 let me do yer washin' ? " she repeated.
" You never could do it. You're too little,"
An utterly hopeless look settled on Carol's face.
She did not shed more tears as Beth fully ex-
pected, but only brushed away the undried ones
on her woe-begone face, and arose to go.
" Wall, I must be goin'.'*
Beth pushed her down again almost roughly.
" Don't you dare go, Carol. Wait here, and I'll
be back in no time."
i86 A Maid of the Mountains
If the house had been on fire, she could have
flown no faster for aid. She dropped the doll on
a chair and rushed on toward the kitchen. Her
mother was not home, so she sought her faithful
" Maggie ! Maggie ! " she called.
" What yo' want, honey ? " demanded Maggie
from the kitchen.
" Come here, Maggie — in the library ! I want
you immediately ! " and when her mammy re-
sponded to the imperative call, Beth added breath-
lessly, " You know where my bank is and I want
it right away."
" But honey "
Beth's eyes snapped. She was in such a hurry
that she had little patience. "Don't stop to
question me, Maggie. The money's my very own,
and I shall do just what I like with it, so get it
for me, there's a dear, good Maggie."
Greatly wondering, Maggie hunted up the
bank as commanded.
" There's a dollar and a half in it," said Beth
seizing the bank. "I had papa count it the
other night after I paid for the doll. I want to
get every cent out," and she struggled to open
it. " I wish papa were here. He's always
opened it, and I don't know how it's worked.
What shall I do, Maggie ? "
" Wait 'til yo' paw comes back."
Beth stamped her foot. "I can't wait. I
An Anget of Mercy 187
must have some money this very minute. Can
you lend me some, Maggie? I'll pay you the
minute papa comes."
" I'se mighty sorry, precious lamb, but I done
giv' my last cent to yo' paw to put in de bank
for me. I 'lowed as I had no use to spend it up
Beth struofo^led a moment more over the bank
and then gave up in despair. She felt ready to
cry. ^'I must do something. She said they
were hungry. What shall I do ? " she thought.
All at once, she swooped down on Maggie and
held her as if fearing she might vanish.
" We have things charged at the store, don't
we, Maggie ? "
" Shure, honey."
Beth's eyes sparkled more than ever. " I want
Gustus to go over to the store for me. Do hunt
him up for me ; there's a dear, dear mammy."
When Beth used such a tone, Maggie had never
been known to resist her.
" Hump, she's up to somethin' mighty queer,"
muttered Maggie as she went in search of Gustus.
" Don't reckon I should be a — a partciple to her
spendin' her money, but " she finished her
soliloquy by shaking her head. She was thinking
that Beth was not easily stopped when in her
Hardly was the door closed behind Maggie be-
fore Beth went over to the desk, and, taking up
i88 A Maid of the Mountains
a pencil and paper, sat down to figure out just
what to send for.
In her excitement she began gnawing the
pencil. " Let me see, they always like hominy —
they call it grits," and she wrote on her paper :
Grits, - - - - .25
Again the pencil was raised to her mouth, and
her forehead was puckered in thought. Never
had she solved a more difficult problem. After a
moment or two of thought, she dashed off the
following list :
Cornmeal, - - - .25
Tea, _ - - _ .25
Sugar, - - - - .15
Bacon, - ~ - - .25
Butter, - - - - .20
Bread, - - - - .10
Coffee, - ~ - - .20
Potatoes,- - - - .20
Then she drew a line underneath and figured
up, but, to her dismay she had overspent her
amount. The poor pencil again was an outlet for
her overwrought feelings.
" I only have a dollar and a half, I know," she
thought, biting viciously on the pencil, " and it
comes to a dollar eighty five. Oh, why did I buy
that doll? I might spend more than I have
though, for I could make it up to papa some time.
I'm sure to be given more money, and he wouldn't
mind. He'd give me the money himself."
An Angel of Mercp 189
" Gustus, Gustus, do hurry," she called, hearing
him with Maggie.
" Pm comin', Missy Beth."
She hesitatingly held out the list to Gustus as
he entered, but then drew it back, shaking her
" I can't do it much as I want them to have the
things," she declared to herself. " It wouldn't be
honorable. I'm not sure of prices anyway, but
Maggie can help me out."
Before consultino: Mao:o:ie, however, she walked
to the door to make sure that Carol was waiting.
She saw her still sitting dejectedly by the
" Carol, I'll be out in a moment. Wait for
me," she called.
"Brune an' me'll wait," answered Carol still
Beth turned back to Maggie who had returned
even more slowly than Gustus.
"Maggie, listen to what I'm going to buy
and tell me what I can leave out so it will only
come to a dollar and a half," and before Maggie
had chance to utter a word, Beth ran over her
list. " You see it comes to a dollar eighty five,
and I only have a dollar and a half," she wound
Maggie was completely mystified. " Law
honey, we hav' all dem 'gredients in de
igo A Maid of the Mountains
" Didn't I tell you ? They're for Carol's folks.
Her mother has a little baby, and they haven't a
thing to eat in the house."
"Hump," muttered Maggie who, notwithstand-
ing her kindly heart, had little patience with
" pooh white trash ." " Don't yo' let 'em fool yo',
missy dear. Dey's nothin' but "
" Hush, hush," cautioned Beth. " Carol's out
there, and she'll hear, and she's proud."
Her words inflamed Maggie more and more.
"Proud nothin'. What she come heyre for den
an' beg all my tender-hearted gal's money "
" She didn't beg. She wanted to do our wash-
ing, but she's too small. You think she's too
small, don't you, Maggie ? "
" Dat chile do our washin' ? " gasped Maggie
after an instant of silence. " She's workin' on
yo' feelin's, dat's all. She nebbeh 'lowed to do it.
Do washin' 'deed. I'm jes' goin' out to tell her
what I think of sech goings on."
Beth made a dive at her to hold her back.
"You mustn't, Maggie. I wouldn't have you
hurt her feelings for the world. If you knew all
about it the way I do, your heart would ache for
her too. We must help her. Why, just think,
she didn't even want the doll."
" Not want dat beau'f ul doll," repeated Maggie,
" No, she said it was too fine for her."
Such action upset Maggie's preconceived idea
An Angel of Mercy 191
of Carol's duplicity. Half mollified, she patted
Beth on the shoulder.
'* Well, well, dat's monstrous queeh. Well I
nebbeh — but yo' jes' wait den, till Miss Mary
comes back. She "
" I can't wait, Maggie. You must tell me
what to leave out. Listen very carefully while I
read the list over."
Maggie, who was not yet entirely won over,
kept muttering while Beth read, " Well I 'clah to
goodness, dat chile do beat all. I always knovved
she was soft-hearted, but I didn't know she could
think out a thin' like that all by hehself."
Nevertheless she paid good heed to Beth's list
and at the end, she said :
" I done know one thin' to leave out. If dese
pooh whites hav' grits, dey don't care for pota-
Beth scratched out that item. After a mo-
ment's figuring, she said :
" I've fifteen cents too much yet. Please help
'' Hump," ejaculated Maggie again, but added,
" Well, well, read dem thin's over, honey."
" Wait," she interrupted when Beth came to
the sugar. " I done tole yo' what we'll do.
Scratch dat out, an' I'll giv' yo' some sugar."
Beth was pleased but doubtful. " Mamma
would give it to me if she were here, but I don't
know as we should take it with her away."
192 A Maid of the Mountains v
" I'll 'sume all 'sponsibility," declared Maggie
Whereupon Beth handed to Gustus the list
with the sugar scratched out. " Have them fill
it out at the store and charge it. I'm going to
give papa my money. You bring the things
down to Carol's yourself, and hurry just as fast
as you can. I'll be waiting there for you."
Maggie, who had started to go for the sugar,
paused on the threshold and turned a still
troubled countenance Beth's way.
" 'Deed, honey, an' yo' ain't exspeculatin' to go
down thar yo'self ? I jes' shouldn't count'nance
sech proceedin's. It ain't fittin', an' what's moah
it am a long ways for yo' to go. Yo' ain't
walked much an' I done feared yo' "
Beth had skipped back beside Maggie and now
patted her lovingly.
" Maggie, I must go and it will not hurt me in
the least, so please don't say another word ;
there's my own dear, good, kind Maggie."
" Hump, I ain't no dear, good, kind nuthin',"
she muttered in return, but Beth had gained her
own way, for Maggie flounced out of the room
without farther protest. Beth hastened out on
" Come on, Carol, I'm going down to see the
Carol made no moA^e to rise. She did not even
look up at Beth and tears were trickling down
An Angel of Mercy 193
her cheeks. She tried to brush them away with-
out Beth's noticing them but was not successful.
"We must hurry," declared Beth, impatient
of more delay.
" Don't yer come," cried Carol after a moment's
hesitation. " Yer'd never hav' nothin' to do
with me agin. Hit's no place for the likes of
you uns," and her tears fell faster.
"I'm your friend, Carol, and I want to go
down with you," whispered Beth, consolingly.
Still Carol did not rise, but, hiding her face in
her hands, sobbed, "I'm 'shamed of the dirt.
The others are too young to work, an' hit takes
all my time to care fer the baby an' maw. Hit's
powerful dirty. I didn't think much 'bout hit
'til I met you uns. You mustn't go thar."
" I am going down, so that's all there is about
Such persistence conquered Carol who, without
a word, arose. Maggie now returned with the
sugar whereupon the two girls started down the
hill, Brune leading the way. So absorbed was
the mountain girl in her own troubles that she
forgot that Beth might still be weak from her
sickness, and so she walked at such a rapid pace
that Beth lost breath trying to keep up with her.
" Carol, I can't go so fast," she panted finally.
All contrition, Carol stopped still. "I never
onct thought as how yer hadn't walked much.
Sit down and rest."
194 -^ Maid of the Mountains
Beth shook her head. " I'll be all right if we
walk slower, but now I'm wobbly all over."
" Yer jes' lean on me. Yes, yer must."
Her aid proved very acceptable for Beth was
weaker than she thought. At the spring her
strength gave out completely so that she sank
down on a rock to rest. Carol was greatly con-
cerned. She gathered some of the clear, running,
ice cold water in her rough hands and bathed
" That is very nice," murmured Beth. " I'd
like a drink of it."
" Thar's nothin' but a gourd to drink from."
Assured that Beth liked a gourd, Carol leaned
over the spring to get her a drink. Beth watched
with much interest. Her breath had returned
and with it her strength.
" Why didn't you tell me how beautiful it is
down here, Carol ? "
Still kneeling, Carol turned a surprised face
her way. " I never knowed hit war beautiful.
Thar's jes' these wild things growin' all 'round
like they do every whar, an' the water jes' flows
out through the rock onto some more rock. I
always liked hit an' hit makes me feel like singin'
lots of times 'cause hit's so happy — the stream
thar I mean, but I never 'lowed as how other
people like you uns would care for it," she added
as she brought the water for Beth to drink.
Greatly refreshed, Beth arose ready to go for-
An Angel of Merc^ 195
ward. She knew that her strength would last
out now, as Carol had said they were most there.
Through the trees she saw a cleared space,
but the only sign of a habitation was a tumble-
down log hut. At first Beth thought it too
wretched a hovel to be the dwelling-place of any
human being, and then she noted a number of
children near the open doorway.
^* Are they neighbors of yours ? " she asked
Carol hung her head. " That's whar we uns
live," she muttered.
" You live there ? " repeated Beth. She was
so shocked that even with all her desire not to
hurt Carol, she could not help showing somewhat
how she felt.
" I tole yer not to come," said Carol, half sob-
"Don't cry, Carol. I'm glad I came. Let's
hurry," she added in hopes of diverting Carol,
which she succeeded in doing, for Carol sprang
forward to assist Beth and the two made their
way to the cabin.
The children stared open-mouthed at the
stranger with their sister. The youngest child,
still holding a lump of something that she had
taken from her mouth, sidled up to Beth and
lisped, " I'se so hungry."
Beth could not take her eyes from the lump in
the child's hand.
196 A Maid of the Mountains
"Carol, what's she been eating?" she asked.
" Clay," answered Carol laconically.
" Clay ? " gasped Beth. She had heard of
clay eaters in the mountains, but had never be-
lieved that people really ate clay until she saw
with her own eyes the child eating it. "Oh,
Carol, it's dreadful."
" I reckon hit am," she agreed. "I never ate
hit. Hit makes people all dried up. They jes'
hain't any blood at all. She never eat hit nother
'til now, but I can't stop her. The others are
takin' to hit, too. They hain't quite so hungry
when they eat hit."
Tears came into Beth's eyes. " I wish Gustus
would come," she thought. Then she kneeled
down beside the little toddler. " Give it to me,"
she demanded, holding out her hand to take the
clay, " and you shall have something to eat in a
moment or two — something nice." She turned
to the others who were still staring at her.
" Never eat any more clay, and I'll see that you
have plenty to eat all the time," she promised
They were all so overawed by her appearance
and words that they only continued to stare.
The little toddler, however, understood her
meaning sufficiently to relinquish the clay.
" Me have somethin' nice to eat. Pretty girl
say so," she murmured.
An Angel of Merc^ 1 97
" Hit hain't become a habit with urn yet like
with some," explained Carol. "I reckon they
won't eat no more if they have food."
Beth felt sick all over. She dreaded to go in-
side the cabin, but would not turn back.
" Had I better see the baby now ? "
*'Maw, here's the young lady from up on the
hill to see yer," called Carol.
*' Come right in," answered a feeble voice from
" Yer all wait here," said Carol to the children,
and then she led Beth within.
Apparently there was but one room to the
shanty. As Beth glanced around the disordered
place, she vaguely wondered where all those
children outside slept. Plenty of dirt was in
evidence as Carol had predicted, but Beth hardly
noted it. Her eyes were immediately attracted
to a dilapidated bed in the corner on which lay a
woman old with care more than with years. In
her weary thin arms was a puny baby which
whimpered fretfully. The woman's eyes were
unnaturally large but sunken. A new light
leaped into them as their gaze fastened in wistful
earnestness on Beth's face.
" Did Carol tell yer all 'bout us ? " she cried
eagerly raising herself on her elbow. The baby's
whimper changed to a cry, and the light faded
from the mother's eyes.
igS A Maid of the Mountains
" Hit's awful hungry," she explained, " but I
can't give hit any thin' myself and we hain't any
milk in the house."
Beth's heart sank because she had ordered no
*' Carol," she whispered after a moment's
hesitation, " go up to the house and get a pitcher
of milk. Tell Maggie I sent for it."
Her least wish was a command to Carol who
hastened to fulfill her order.
With Carol gone, Beth felt more uncomfort-
able than ever. She sat down on a rickety chair
not knowing what to say or do. The mother
would have talked to her had not her babe
claimed her entire attention. It quieted from a
cry to a moan, but this proved so pitiful that Beth
finally could stand it no longer.
" Shall I walk up and down with it ? " she
asked timidly, rising and going over to the bed.
"That would be powerful kind," answered
Mrs. Corn well completely worn out herself.
Nice, clean babies were the only kind Beth
had ever known and she thought she loved all
babies. But this one was not clean ; in fact it
was repellently dirty. As the mother held it
out toward her, she shrank back slightly, almost
ready to withdraw her offer, but she was entirely
too kind-hearted to intentionally hurt any one,
so, overcoming her momentary weakness, she took
the poor, little moaning waif to her heart. Back
An Angel of Mercy 199
and forth, back and forth, she walked, humming
a lullaby. She was not much of a singer, but
her charge soon quieted under such soothing
" I think she's asleep," she whispered, stopping
by the bed for her arms ached and she was faint.
*' I'll take her," but when Beth started to place
the baby beside its mother, it began to whimper
"Perhaps I'd better keep her. I'll bring a
chair over beside you, and perhaps I can keep
her quiet sitting down."
The plan worked well for Beth patted the
baby as it lay on her lap and soon it quieted
"We've brought a sight of trouble on our-
selves," said the sick woman speaking to Beth as
she might have to a grown person, and then ex-
plained, " I had a better eddication than I've
been able to give any of my young uns, an' when
we 'lowed as how we were to have money, their
paw an' I reckoned as how hit would make ladies
an' gentlemen of 'era. We didn't 'low 'em to
'sociate with any one here'bouts, an' now we're
bein' paid back for bein' so proud-like. None of
'em cum to help now that we need help," and she
No word of comfort suggested itself to Beth.
She felt very helpless, but had she only known
how soothed the poor, burdened woman was just
200 A Maid of the Mountains
to speak of her trouble, Beth would have been
" God alone knows what's to become of we
uns," continued Mrs. Cornwell fretfully. " I'm
'bout tuckered out, an' Carol " — her voice broke,
" I hates to think on her. Onct she an' I 'lowed
as how she wuz to be a singer. I usen to sing at
meetin' myself when I wuz a gal in Al'bama, an'
Carol has my voice only sweeter an' stronger
" Perhaps Carol can sing then," thought Beth,
but the baby began to cry again so that poor
worried Beth had to walk the floor once more.
With all her heart she wished that Gustus and
Carol would come. The waiting seemed an eter-
nity to her.
Beth' s Plan
" Whar's my Missy Beth ? " were the words
that finally brought comfort to the self-con-
stituted little nurse who placed the now sleeping
child beside its mother.
"Come right in, Gustus," she called. "Put
the things over there," she added as he came in,
pointing to a table in the corner of the room near
" Whew," ejaculated Gustus as he deposited
his load. " I done reckon dey put in stones wid
dese things. My arms shurely ache."
Beth looked around the place for a cook-stove
but failed to discover one.
" Where do you do your cooking ? " she asked
of Mrs. Corn well.
" On the open fire thar. Yer kin have the boy
call to one of the young uns to bring in some
logs an' start a fire, an' by the time Carol's
back hit'll be goin'." She accepted the present
of food as a matter of course, but Beth did not
mind, she was so pleased in the doing.
Soon the fire was blazing on the hearth, and
then Carol came and Beth was overjoyed to
behold Maggie come panting in behind her.
204 A Maid of the Mountains
" Oh, Maggie, how good of you ! " she cried
and there was a catch in her voice from very
Maggie's face beamed too. " I jes' 'lowed as
how yo' might need me, honey. I done come
jes' on yo' 'count." She sniffed contemptuously.
She did not wish Beth to think she would bemean
herself by running after "pooh white trash."
'* 'Sides de milk, here am some eggs an' soup broth
dat'U be good for de sick woman."
Beth would have given the milk to the baby
cold, but Maggie knew better and warmed it.
One by one the children sneaked into the room,
the smell of food attracting them. Poor, starv-
ing things, they could not keep away although
Carol ordered them out several times. " Wait 'til
ve're called," she said. Beth who could not
stand the sight of their greedy eyes spread a
number of slices of bread with sugar sprinkled
over, and gave each child a piece, even to Carol
wlio was as famished as any of them.
" More, more," lisped the little toddler who had
thrown away the clay. She had devoured the
last crumb and was still starved.
Beth stooped over and kissed her unmindful of
" You must wait, dearie. Maggie is cooking
something nice for you all."
" Girl hungry ? " questioned the little one
feeling a tear on her face that Beth had shed.
Beth' s Flan 205
Meantime Maggie had heated the broth for the
sick woman, and had taken it to her.
" Hit'll give me strength so's I kin work fer
my young uns," she murmured gratefully to
Maggie. " An' the milk has chirked her up al-
ready. The baby'd have died if you alls hadn't
Maggie felt a tear in her own eye. Her prej-
udices vanished as she worked for them, but she
bustled back to the fireplace to hide her emotion,
and stirred the kettle of grits that was now
steaming. When it was about ready she began
frying the bacon and its savory odor filled the
place, and the children clustered nearer and
nearer around the hearth.
Beth would have set the table but there was
no cloth to spread, and no dishes except a few
cracked ones, and then there were not nearly
enough chairs to go round, so all the children sat
on the floor each with a spoon, but eating out of
the one dish.
As Beth, with shining eyes, eyed the little
crowd, she marveled how they could eat so much.
They scraped the dish clean and not a piece of
the bacon did they leave, except for Carol who
saved a share of her helping for Brune. Beth
immediately resolved to send some dog meat to
the faithful fellow.
" Maggie,- ' whispered Beth when the rest of
the provisions had been placed away for future
2o6 A Maid of the Mountains
use, " couldn't we wash the baby ? She needs a
By this time, Maggie was warmed up to any
undertaking. She placed water in the kettle to
heat and then turned to Carol.
" Has yo' a tub ? Missy Beth 'sires to wash
de baby an' she mus' be washed."
Carol was doubtful of such an undertaking,
but if Beth wished it, she thought it must be all
right, so she hunted up an old tub.
The children watched rounder eyed than ever
while the bath was being prepared as if they
thought the ceremony about to be performed
some heathen rite.
" Yer don't s'pose hit'll make her take cold ? "
questioned Mrs. Corn well, anxiously, as Beth her-
self undressed the baby.
" Cold nothin'," sniffed Maggie, running her
arm into the tub to make sure the temperature of
the water was just right. " When she's clean,
she'll be a dif'runt chile shure. Hand her to me
now," she added to Beth.
Beth would have liked to help with the bath,
but Maggie, who felt herself the high priestess of
the occasion, would have no aid.
" Go 'long, honey, yo' ain't strong 'nough fer
sech work," she declared, and all Beth could do
was to stand by and watch. However, she
managed to save the little toddler from a wetting
for it was so curious, it would have fallen into
Beth' s Flan 207
the tub with the baby if Beth had not grabbed
When the baby was finally raised from the
tub, it seemed a different child as Maggie had
predicted. It was so nice and clean that Beth
only regretted not having some new clothes for it.
" Dis room ought to be cleaned foh we go,"
declared Maggie when once more the baby was
placed beside her mother. '* Yo' wait outside
while Carol an' me brushes up a bit," she said to
" I'll do nothing of the sort," answered Beth
firmly. " I'm going to help," and though Maggie
objected, it was of no use.
"I ain't no words to thank yer," said Mrs.
Corn well when Beth and Maggie were ready to
depart. " But I've a favor to ask."
*' What is it ? " asked Beth, fearing she could
not grant it now that all her money was gone,
but she decided to ask her father for help.
" I thought some of callin' the little gal here,
Elvira 'cause hit's sech a romantic name, but now
I'd like to name her after yer, if yer don't mind.
What is yer name in full ? "
" Elizabeth Davenport."
" If yer don't mind, then, I'd call her 'Liz 'beth
The idea of such a namesake completely over-
whelmed Beth who felt a new responsibility
about the child.
2o8 A Maid of the Mountains
" Do you really wish to name her after me ? "
" I do, an' yer'll surely come agin to-morrow
as yer promised to see 'Liz'beth an' me ?"
Outside Carol had something to say on the
subject. " At first I didn't want the baby," she
confessed. " I didn't see how we uns could care
f er hit when thar war so many of we uns already,
but then hit war so helpless, an' hit clung to me
so that I couldn't help takin' to hit some. An'
now that hit's to be called 'Liz' beth after yer, I'll
jes' dote on hit."
Beth was very weary. Even listening to Carol
tired her more. She clung to Maggie's hand and
looked up at the long hill that still had to be
climbed. Now that excitement no longer lent
her strength, the return trip home seemed a
" Good-bye Carol, I'll be down to-morrow," she
" Look thar," exclaimed Carol. " Thar comes
the young gentleman."
Beth looking in the direction in which she
pointed saw Harvey on Bueur coming leisurely
" Hello," he called. " I heard you were down
here, and thought I'd find out what you were
" I know what I'd like to be up to," thought
Beth, eyeing Rueur wistfully.
Beth' s Plan 209
" "Why, Beth, you look completely "worn out,"
remarked Harvey as he sprang down beside
them. " You must ride up the hill."
Her tired face flushed in sudden pleasure.
" Oh, how nice that will be. My very first ride
on my mule, too. But how can I ever get up on
his back ? "
" Shure, honey, dat's easy. I'll lift yo'. Yo'
weight'd be no more dan feathers to me," and
Maggie picked her up and placed her on Rueur.
" Good-bye, Carol," said Beth the second time,
but with enthusiasm now. She even waved her
disengaged hand as the mule started up the hill
with her. Harvey, Maggie and Gustus walked
" What have you been doing ? " questioned
Harvey. Beth placed a finger on her lips, but
Maggie would not heed the warning.
" She's done been a little angel ob mercy, dat's
what she's been for shure."
" Oh, pshaw," murmured Beth. " Don't you
listen to her, Harve. I'll tell you all about it up
at the house. I only did what anybody would
" Anybody done," muttered Maggie. *' Law,
honey, dar's lots ob common trash in dis world."
"You're not of that kind, Maggie. I don't
know what I'd have done without you to-day."
Her eyes were slightly dim.
Maggie's face beamed, but she too muttered,
210 A Maid of the Mountains
"Oh, pshaw, honey. Don't yo' listen to her,
The rest of the way up the hill Beth was
planning for the family in the hollow.
" I might giv^e Carol a hen and a rooster and
some eggs for the hen to set on to raise chickens.
It'll look nice to see chickens about the place, and
we can send down and buy chickens and eggs
from them. In time they can make lots of
money that way."
At the house she called a council of war when
she found that all the family had returned.
After telling her afternoon's experience, she said:
" We've got to do something for them 'specially
after the baby's named for me. I thought of
something we might do and I want to know
what you think of my plan. How would it do
to get up a benefit for the family, and give them
the proceeds? I know the people up at the
hotels would come when they heard what the
entertainment was for. Then there'd be all the
town people besides."
" Let's have a circus," proposed Harvey.
A circus appealed to adventurous Beth.
"We'll teach the dogs to perform, and we can
ride Kueur and the horses."
" I'll not have any of you risking your necks
riding. You can teach the dogs tricks if you
wish," answered Mrs. Davenport.
Great were the schemes as to what should be
Beth' s Flan 211
done. The most improbable things were sug-
gested, but out from the mass of ideas set forth, the
determination grew to give the entertainment.
Even Mr. and Mrs. Davenport approved the
" I wish we could have Carol take part," said
Beth. " It would seem then as if she were
helping herself. I think she's proud, and the idea
of charity hurts her."
" A good idea, Beth," answered Mr. Daven-
port. "I always believe in helping people to
^' But what under the sun can Carol do ? "
" I'll think up something for her," announced
The entertainment was uppermost in all their
thoughts for days thereafter. They planned to
have something that would be more unique than
the ordinary church affairs that were sometimes
given in the town. At first it was deemed
impossible to carry out Harvey's suggestion of
having the entertainment outdoors.
<' Why any one could come, and needn't pay if
they were dishonorable," declared Marian.
"Let's put them on their honor," cried Beth
who was always for trusting people. " I know
just the place where we could have it. There's
an open space all around Carol's cabin. Why not
have it down there right in sight of the people
212 A Maid of the Mountains
we're going to benefit ? Let's go down and have
a look at it. I've got to go down and see them
anyway." It was her habit now to make daily
visits, and many a basket of necessities had found
their way to the cabin through her, and she had
already started Carol in the chicken raising
Down into the hollow the four hastened. The
place impressed them all as a fitting spot for
their show. The pines had been hewn down
leaving a clearing larger than they would need.
" The dogs can perform here all right," said
Harvey who had taken their training upon him-
" It's a shame that mamma will not let us ride.
It would be grand to perform bareback the way
they do in the circus," and Beth sighed regret-
fully because her mother had remained firm in
barring riding from their plans. Mrs. Davenport
knew too well the adventurous spirit of the
children to allow anything so risky.
" What would we do for seats ? " asked Julia.
" They have benches in the church on the hill
back of us. Maybe we could borrow them,"
" I'll ask for them," answered Beth, and that
very day she went to interview the minister on
" You can take them if you have any way of
getting them there and back," he promised
Beth' s Plan 213
after hearing the object for which they were to
be used. Whereupon Beth secured her father's
consent that on the morning of the eventful day,
Rueur be hitched to a wagon and that he would
have one of the men working for him haul the
" What will you do if it rains ? " questioned
Beth had not even taken into consideration
such a catastrophe.
" That would spoil everything, but we'll not
think for a moment that we could have such
awful luck," she added with her usual optimism.
The next question that came up was whether
they should have any outside help to amuse their
Mrs. Davenport settled the matter for them.
" If you are sufficient!}^ smart to think up amuse-
ment without grown-up people taking part, it
will prove more interesting," she said, " and
you'll make more money too, I believe."
^' How much shall we ask ? " demanded
'' Do not have any set price," she suggested.
" Let people give what they wish." This advice
was also accepted.
Harvey had the three dogs, Duke, Watch, who
had greatly improved with the kindness that was
showered upon him at the Davenports, and
Brune in training even before the children
214 A Maid of the Mountains
decided what parts they, themselves, would
attempt. Every morning he went down into the
hollow with them, and his most interested spec-
tator was Beth, who never failed to be with
him to note how well they were doing.
" I had no idea they could be taught so much.
I don't believe I'd ever have had the patience to
teach them. It takes heaps of patience," said
Beth one morning.
" Well I should just say it does," agreed Har-
vey, looking up from where he held the dogs in
leash awaiting their turn to jump from the plank
he had built for the purpose. The dogs were so
anxious to take the long distance leaps that they
barked and pulled on their chains, in real enjoy-
ment of their training.
" It's just wonderful the way they've improved
the short time you've had them in hand," con-
tinued Beth admiringly. " Watch is the best
jumper," she added, as the dog in question flew
up the plank and outdistanced Duke's last effort.
Beth was somewhat jealous for her pet. She
had gladly adopted Watch, but he could never
win the place in her affection that Duke held.
In fact Watch appreciated this and so he lavished
the most of his affection on Harvey.
" Watch is my star pupil," agreed Harvey.
Marian and Julia now joined them.
" It's worrying me what under the sun we,
ourselves, are to do," said Marian.
Beth's Flan 215
" If I show off the dogs that's enough for me,"
broke in Harvey.
" No it's not," answered the three girls at
" It's easy enough to tell what you're to do,"
said Beth. '* We need music, so you'll have to
send for your violin and play."
" I can play with him or alone on my guitar,"
proposed Marian. " That will be an easy way
out for me."
" And I could dance if we only had a platform.
You know, Beth, I took fancy dancing lessons
last winter," announced Julia in her turn.
" I wish now I'd taken lessons," Beth mur-
" I told you you'd be sorry," retorted Julia.
" Can't we have a platform ? "
"We've got to manage one some way," an-
Beth looked disconsolate. "Carol and I are
the only uncertain ones. I suppose I can learn
some pieces to recite, and I might teach her some-
thing. I'll try anyway. I'll learn funny pieces —
people like to laugh. But what can Carol learn ? "
Gustus, who was with the children when-
ever he had the time, overheard what they were
planning. His eyes began to roll as they always
did when he was excited, and he hopped around
first on one foot and then on the other to attract
attention, but no one noticed his antics.
2i6 A Maid of the Mountains
" I kin dance, too," he blurted out finally.
Beth was the first to catch his meaning.
"You'd like to take part, would you, Gustus?
And so you shall," she added in response to his
vigorous nod. " The Northerners, especially, will
like your dancing."
He was so delighted that he began showing
off his various steps to let his little mistress see
that she could rely on his proficiency.
Upon their return to the house, Beth hunted
up some recitation books and with her mother's
aid, selected several comic pieces hoping that
among them, she could choose something not
only for herself, but one for Carol also. Then
she hastened again to the hollow to impart her
design to Carol.
" Me recite ? " repeated Carol. " I can't."
Beth's enthusiasm was not to be so easily
quenched. "You must. I'll teach you. Sit
down here by me." And when Carol was on
the log beside her, she opened one of the books
to " The Elf Child."
"Now say after me, 'Little orphant Annie's
come to our house to stay.' "
" Has she ? Who's she ? "
" Why I'm reading it from the book. Don't
you see the words written here ? "
Carol hung her head. "I hain't been to
" Can't you read ? "
Beth' s Plan 217
Carol had never felt her lack of knowledge as
she did at this moment. She twisted her dress
nervously, keeping her eyes lowered that Beth
might not see the tears that almost blinded her.
" Not a powerful sight like that thar," she
murmured. " I only tended school one term fer
we didn't have no school up in the mountains,
an' when we uns came down to Tremont, I got
'shamed 'cause I was put in with the little chil-
dren, but I'd have kept on only maw needed me
" Carol, after the show, I'll have to teach you
some," promised Beth impulsively. " It's a shame
for you not to know more."
She paused a moment gaining courage to speak
of a matter about which she had been thinking
for some time.
" Carol, would you like me to correct you in
your talk, when you say things wrong ? "
Beth was surprised to see tears rise to her
" Why Carol, I just wished to help you. I
wouldn't hurt you for anything."
Carol tried to smile through the tears. " Hit's
not that. Hit's 'cause I'm so pleased like."
" And you really want me to help you ? "
" 'Deed I do if yer'U only do hit."
" Then you mustn't say ' hit.' Say it."
"It, it, it," murmured Carol. " I didn't know
*fore that I said hit — it dif'runt." Then she
2 1 8 A Maid of the Mountains
added, " I'd try most any thin' to please yer, but —
don't ask me to larn that thar piece to say at the
show. I hain't a bit of caliin' that away. Please,
please don't do hit — it."
Beth could not resist such pleading. Then,
too, she realized that Carol had no " calling " for
" I'll try to think of something else for you to
do," she promised.
The Dark Comer
The very name " Dark Corner " appealed to
Harvey. It bespoke mystery and adventure,
and, ever since he had first heard of it, he re-
solved to ride over that way, all alone.
So early one afternoon he asked Beth if he
might take Eueur to which she readily con-
"Beth, you're the only one IVe told where
I'm going," he said at parting. " It's better not
to let the girls know. They'd want to go too,
and it's not the place for girls," he added, feeling
the importance of his sex. Had he but known
the truth, the other sex was better tolerated in
the " Dark Corner " than his own.
Away he started riding toward the spot where
he had been told the " Dark Corner " lay over
under the shadow of Hogback. His pulses
thrilled. Actually he hoped to chance upon some
of the illegal distills about which he had heard
At the end of two miles or so he was sur-
prised to come upon a gate right across the mid-
dle of the road. He hardly knew what to do,
but resolved to open the gate half expecting if
222 A Maid of the Mountains
he rode onward to come upon some house where
he intended to ask if he was intruding.
To open the gate without dismounting proved
a difficult matter. Every time that he reached
down to the latch, at that very instant Kueur
would grow restless and jerk away. Then the
same performance was repeated over and over
again until, at last, his efforts were rewarded.
Closing the gate after him, he galloped along
noticing that the land around him was uncultivated
and that there was not the least sign of a habita-
tion. Still he was dissatisfied, longing to travel
some mountain trail that bespoke even less civili-
zation. Onward he rode without seeing the
least sign of human life, and still desirous of some
Uphill and downhill Rueur carried him while
the woods around were so wild that Harvey
finally had a sense of being entirely alone almost
in a primeval world. For a moment a feeling of
fear weighed upon his mind.
" Perhaps it would be better to go over some
way I know," he thought, but immediately the
love of adventure conquered fear.
As if to tempt him, to the right he beheld an
evidently disused road, deeply rutted ; unmistak-
ably washed by many a rain. Weeds, too, had
sprung into luxuriant growth almost hiding where
the road had been.
Without an instant's hesitation, Harvey headed
The Dark Comer 223
Kueur to the right. Within a few moments he
came to a stream which he forded. Once across,
there was no more evidence of a road.
While Harvey waited, pondering what to do,
Kueur took the reins into his own keeping, and
turned to the left to nibble at the bushes. His
so doing decided Harvey's course of action.
Right beyond the bushes he beheld a trail, the
finding of which made his heart thump. Again
he indulged in no hesitation, but dug the spurs
into Rueur to follow the trail which proved suf-
ficiently wild to suit even Harvey. The branches
of the trees grew so low that he had to stoop not
to be swept from the saddle, while the bushes on
either side reached right across the path as if
warning him not to proceed. Still Harvey would
not turn back.
" I want something to tell Beth, and this cer-
tainly looks mysterious enough," he mused.
Suddenly he came to a hillside where the trail,
" We'll go up the hill anyway," Harvey said
aloud to the mule, once more using the spurs.
With a plunge Rueur started upward, and it
was well that he got such a good start for the
earth was soft and stony while the climb proved
Wilder and wilder grew the scenery. The still-
ness was oppressive. The sun, too, was beclouded
momentarily, which made the woods around and
224 A Maid of the Mountains
above dark and awe inspiring. Immense boulders
often blocked the way, so that Rueur had to
choose his footing most carefully.
Harvey leaned far forward in the saddle as if
to assist the mule upward. Now he had no
thought of turning backward as long as the mule
could possibly proceed. Harvey, some way, was
assured that an unusual experience awaited him
if he only persevered.
Nevertheless, he was startled when suddenly
he heard a murmur of voices ahead.
Stealthily to the ground he slipped. Fastening
Rueur, he stole through the bushes intent on see-
ing what was before him without being seen him-
self, but the undergrowth was so luxuriant that,
without warning, he almost fell down an em-
bankment, as he had not been looking for any
such precipitate descent.
Caution overcome now by fear of a fall, he
reached out wildly to save himself. "With ease
he caught hold of a tree, but in so doing some
dry twigs beneath his feet crackled.
At the same instant, almost directly below, a
sight confronted him that might well make his
Beside a stone still were two masked and armed
men, and one of them aimed directly at poor,
" Don't shoot ! I— I'll never tell ! " yelled
The Dark Comer 22 S
The men looked up surprised. They had not
even heard the crackling, and had no thought of
an intruder when aiming their pistols.
" What yer doin' thar, kid ? " called one of
them not threateningly, Harvey thought.
"I — I was just taking a ride. My mule is
back there." Whereupon Harvey made a move
" Have him come down," called a voice from
the underbrush to the side of the men. The
speaker was so well screened by the green that
Harvey could not even get a glimpse of him, but
he was evidently no mountaineer as Harvey knew
by his speech. This fact made Harvey a little
" Cum on down," called the men.
If they had not been armed, Harvey would
have risked running.
" I — I don't know how to get down."
"I'll show yer," and the nearest man ran
nimbly around the still to a path at the right.
" This way," he called cheerfully.
Harvey did not feel at all cheerful. The men
being armed and masked as they were had a
serious look to him, and even if the third man
was better educated, he might still be a cutthroat.
" I'd better put a brave face on anyway," he
resolved as he started toward the path.
The men below were talking in low tones.
"Deciding what they'll do with me," Harvey
226 A Maid of the Mountains
thought, trying his utmost to overhear what they
said, but without success.
Half-way down the path he beheld at the spot
where the third voice sounded something project-
ing through the bushes, and was vastly surprised
to discover that the object was a camera.
The situation was growing more and more puz-
zling every moment, but the discovery of the
camera lightened Harvey's fear so that he hur-
ried downward more willingly.
A gentlemanly appearing man came out from
the bushes and smilingly said :
" Well, my boy, I think I've just gotten a very
unusual picture, and that it will be good unless
the shade is too dense."
" Picture ? " repeated Harvey, hardly yet tak-
ing in the situation.
" Yes. Did you really think we were making
mountain dew ? "
" I — I was too scared to think much," stam-
mered Harvey, too relieved to be sure that he
was not being deceived.
" I knew of this deserted still and had these
men dress up for my benefit," explained the pho-
tographer. " If the picture turns out well, I'll
send you one. You deserve some reward for the
scare I've given you."
Harvey felt like himself once more. *' It will
be fine to have the picture. My, but things did
look black for me for awhile."
The Dark Comer 227
He walked over to examine the still. The pho-
tographer accompanied him and explained how
it was worked.
" That man knows this business thoroughly,"
said the photographer, presently glancing over
his shoulder toward the spring where the two
men were getting water. He indicated the one
farthest from him. " I imagine that he may have
made whisky himself once."
The men had by this time taken off their masks
and Harvey thought he must have seen the man
some place before, or else he reminded him of
some one. Harvey could not decide which.
'' What does he do now ? " he asked.
*' Nothing but drink, I reckon."
The men now joined them, and the photog-
rapher took some money from his pocket.
"Here's the amount I promised you, Corn-
Harvey knew that he had heard that name be-
fore, but could not place it.
The photographer was ready to depart, so after
Harvey had given him his address, he, too, de-
cided to go.
Just as he was leaving, he heard one of the men
" Corn well, I'll be thar at the house at the foot
of the track at eight to-night."
" I'll be waitin' yer," answered Corn well.
At the time the words made small impression on
228 A Maid of the Mountains
Harvey's mind, having no idea that they would
concern him in any way, so light-heartedly he
ascended the path, thankful that his adventure
had proved uneventful.
He had ridden farther than he thought, and by
the time he reached home it was almost dark.
Supper was awaiting him, and once at table he
immediately related his adventure.
" My, but I was scared when I saw Cornwell
aiming at me as I thought. How should I know
that he was posing for a picture ? " said Harvey
"CornweU?" repeated Beth. "Why that's
Carol's name. Can it be her father ? "
"I knew I'd heard the name before," said
" Speaking of illegal distilling reminds me of
my own vexation on that very subject," said Mr.
Davenport. " I have a suspicion that whisky is
being sold in one of my own houses."
"Why don't you stop it then?" demanded
Marian, who was very strict on the temperance
" Because I cannot prove anything. It's this
way. About a month ago I rented a house be-
low here at the foot of the railroad track."
Even at these words Harvey did not remember
what had passed between Cornwell and his com-
panion about a place at the foot of some track.
" Ko one moved in," continued Mr. Davenport,
The Dark Comer 229
" but I've been told that men and boys go there
for whisky, that money and jugs are passed
through an opening, and I mean to solve the
" Miss Mary, dey's to have a cake-walk obber
at de hotel to-night, an' dey done 'low datyou all
should come," announced Gustus.
Mrs. Davenport looked at Beth. " You should
not go, dear, and so we had better stay home."
Marian and Julia were disappointed. Still on
account of Beth they would not ask to go.
" You must go without me." Beth's lips quiv-
ered slightly but she tried very hard to be brave.
*'It's just the chance to talk about our show to
the guests there."
" But we haven't decided when to have it."
"How will a week from next Saturday do?"
" I reckon we can be ready then," answered
Harvey, who had been appointed master of cere-
monies. "And I'll stay with you to-night,
Her face brightened, but still she demurred.
" It's a shame "
" Keally I don't want to go, but the others had
better go to talk up the show as you suggest."
After the others had departed, Harvey and
Beth went to the kitchen with the idea of pop-
ping corn. They found Maggie sitting in front
of the fire, bent way over and looking very mis-
erable for her usually smiling self.
" Law, honeys, I done got de misery in my jints
so's I jes' can't walk," she announced. "I'se
powerful bad, an' if it warn't fer leavin' yo' two
alone, I'd go up to bed."
" Where are Gustus and Lizzie ? "
" I done reckon as how dat scamp of a Gustus
sneaked off after de odders. He thinks a power
of gabbin' wid de hotel help, an' Lizzy likewise.
Dat's why we're 'lone. Oh, gracious me, dat knee
of mine is jes' ter'ble."
"You go right to bed, Maggie. Indeed you
must go," commanded Beth.
"Dar nebber wuz sech a bossy chile as yo',
honey, but I 'specs I'll have to 'bey yo'." She
arose as if really reluctant ; nevertheless, her face
*' Of course, you will," and Beth pushed Mag-
gie out into the hall, slamming the door after her.
" Now for the corn, Harvey."
234 A Maid of the Mountains
When the corn was shelled, and some was pop-
ping, a timid knock sounded at the kitchen door.
"Who can it be?" whispered Beth, inclined
to be a little startled.
" We'll see," answered Harvey, boldly opening
the door. Beth caught a glimpse of a tow-head
" Carol sent me."
" What does she want ? " demanded Beth.
" The baby's sick," blurted out the child.
" Oh," gasped Beth, unprepared for new trouble.
" An' maw wants some of you uns to come."
Beth was only undecided a moment as to what
should be done.
" Harvey, as there's no one to go but us, we'll
have to go ourselves."
"But Beth, you're not strong "
" I am strong, and we're going, so you needn't
argue. We'll not say a word to Maggie. We'll
take the kitchen key with us."
In a few minutes Beth and Harvey were ready
to accompany the child, and the three started,
locking the door behind them.
The night was dark, intensely dark. Dense
clouds had gathered hiding all the stars, and the
feeling of rain was in the air.
" We'll get lost, it's so dark," said Beth.
" I could shut my eyes, an' get to hum," said
the child, starting down the hill just ahead of
CaroVs Father 235
When they had only gone a short distance,
Beth stumbled, almost falling over the root of a
'^ You'll have to be helped," said Harvey,
running to her aid.
" It is a little rough for me," she acknowledged.
The child alone was sure of her footing.
Harvey and Beth had to go cautiously, but finally
managed to reach the foot of the hill in safety.
" How strange," said Beth pausing. " I didn't
know that birds sang at night. Don't you hear
it too ? '*
"That hain't no bird. That's Carol singin' to
the baby," announced the child.
" It sounds more like a bird," persisted Beth.
" She likes to try an' sing like the birds."
"Harvey," whispered Beth, "I don't know
much about music, but it really seems quite
wonderful to me."
" It's very pretty indeed. I'm surprised," he
So was Beth, and a new plan for Carol began
to form in her mind, but she moved on in silence
to the cabin which was dimly lighted.
Seated by the hearth in which was a smoulder-
ing fire dying gradually out, was Carol trying to
quiet the baby with her singing. The children
were sleeping while Mrs. Cornwell anxiously
watched the door. As the children entered, she
raised herself on her elbow.
236 A Maid of the Mountains
" Whar's yer paw ? This is work fer a man,"
she cried shrilly.
" Hush, maw, hush," cautioned Carol. " Ye're
makin* 'Liz'beth restless agin."
Mrs. Cornwell paid no heed to the warning.
She was evidently greatly excited. Her eyes
burned unnaturally bright, and she wrung her
hands in nervous agitation.
" I kin stand hit no more," she moaned. " I
know now whar Sam'el goes. I won't stand hit
no more. Yer paw shall be told." Her voice
was growing shriller every moment. " That's why
I sent fer you uns. I 'spected he'd come 'stead of
sendin' you uns."
"We were told that the baby was sick
" That's only part true. I'm so flighty over
Sam'el that I make 'Liz'beth restless. That's all,
an' I used hit as a 'scuse so's I could tell yer
paw — if he don't know hit already — how licker's
sold in his house."
" My father will stop it in a minute if you can
prove it," Beth said.
" I can't prove hit 'cept that Carol seen him —
Sam'el — comin' dead drunk from thar. He's
prob'ly thar now. I wish we had some one to
spy on 'em."
" He's there. I heard him agree to meet a
man there at eight," answered Harvey, the words
of the afternoon flashing into his mind.
CaroVs Father 237
She looked him over critically. "Yer be
pretty small, but I wish yer dared go to make
sure. Will yer go ? "
" I'll go," he promised.
The sick woman was flighty and hardly real-
ized what she was proposing.
" Yes, yes, do go. Take Brune with yer."
" I'll go too," put in Beth.
"You'll do nothing of the sort," answered
Harvey. " You wait here."
She insisted, but he would not consent.
"Go with him, Brune," Carol commanded,
waking the dog from where he slept on the
" He might make a noise, and "
" Yer jes' say, ' quiet, Brune, quiet,' an' he'll
make no noise."
The companionship of the dog, because of the
darkness, was acceptable to the boy.
" Whew, but it's dark," he said outside, keeping
Brune close beside him. He was not familiar
with the path down to the railroad track, and lost
his way several times, so that he stumbled over
the roots of trees, skinned his shins, and repented
of his undertaking although he would not turn
At first he was not frightened, but, when
almost at the railroad track, a sudden noise below
him started his heart beating at a great rate.
In a moment he smiled over his own cowardice.
238 A Maid of the Mountains
" The idea of my being afraid of the croaking
of frogs," he thought, "but at first I didn't
remember there was a pond down there."
However, with fear once aroused, there was
soon new food for it to feed on. Arrived at the
railroad track, Harvey paused abruptly, for he
thought he heard people talking down by the
house at the foot of the embankment. Brune,
too, growled, which assured Harvey that people
" Quiet, Brune, quiet," he cautioned, and the
dog immediately settled down obediently beside
Harvey would have liked to whistle as did
Gustus when scared, but realized that unless he
kept his approach quiet, he could not hope to ac-
complish anything. Although he acknowledged
that the task before him frightened him, still he
would not turn back.
Notwithstanding his trepidation, he quickly
thought out what should be done. He had often
walked along the track up this way, and knew
the embankment to be very steep, almost per-
pendicular in fact, but to find out anything he
must get down it some way. He realized that
even the underbrush and rocks just below the
upper ledge which had been filled in to make
the roadbed, might send him head foremost right
into the midst of the men, for it w^as impossi.
ble to see a foot around him. Nevertheless, he
CaroVs Father 239
was bound to carry out the adventure to a
Cautiously as he could, he started downward.
In a moment he heartily repented the attempt.
The loose sand around him giving way, he was
carried irresistibly along with it. Brune, too, was
caught in the downward avalanche, but, being
surer-footed, stopped himself the sooner. Harvey
grabbed hold of a bush which broke his wild
flight momentarily, but the dirt rattled on down-
hill making considerable noise.
As Harvey clung breathlessly, his weight up-
rooted the bush, again sending him sprawling
downward. In desperation he reached out wildly,
and was held a second by a good sized boulder,
until it loosened also and went clattering to the
foot of the hill.
In a moment Harvey grasped another bush
thus succeeding in gaining his feet. All hopes
of finding out anything seemed over, for the ava-
lanche of rattling dirt and rocks would have
scared people into hiding if they had any cause
for so doing, and Harvey decided to return to
the cabin for Beth. But when he let go of the
bush to take a step upward, the way proved so
steep that he realized that he would have to go
to the foot of the embankment and walk around
by the road to the track. So down the hill he
and Brune continued, and soon they were on
level ground again right back of the house that
240 A Maid of the Mountains
had been arousing so much suspicion of late.
Harvey drew a deep breath, and paused a mo-
ment to steady his nerves which were still de-
cidedly shaky. All was perfectly quiet now.
" We can't find out anything, but let's have a
look at the place anyway," he said to the dog.
Not the least sign of life did he find near the
house, and so he was ready to return.
" Come on, Brune," he called, for the dog had
wandered from his side.
At the same instant Brune whined and began
" What is it, old fellow ? " For an instant he
thought the dog had made some discovery, until
Brune quieted down so suddenly that Harvey con-
cluded he had but scented game which he would
not hound at night.
Harvey was about to walk on when a sound as
of a smothered groan stopped him.
" Brune," he called, " Brune," but the dog did
not come running in response.
For the second time the same mysterious sound
broke the stillness, and Harvey began to feel de-
cidedly nervous. The groan evidently came from
some human being in distress, and in the dark-
ness and loneliness of the spot suggested horrible
possibilities to Harvey who knew not whether
to run or to try to solve the mystery. As the
groans did not cease, he decided that he could not
leave any human being in such misery, and Brune
CaroVs Father 241
would probably come to his aid if he needed as-
sistance. Harvey, therefore, advanced cau-
tiously, guided by the cry that was not far
All at once he almost stumbled over a pros-
trate form, and then he saw that Brune was keep-
ing guard close by.
" Don't take me, don't. I have nothin' to do
with sellin' whisky. I swear hit," groaned the
figure on the ground almost incoherently while
between every sentence there was a groan.
Harvey's courage returned. He saw that the
man on the ground was not only hurt, but for
some reason was afraid of him.
" What's the matter ? " he demanded.
" A lot of we uns were yonder when we heard
the officers "
" What officers ? "
" You revenue officers "
" There are no revenue officers that I know of.
What do you mean ? "
"Didn't you uns come down the hill ? Hain't
you uns revenue officers ? "
" No, indeed, and only Brune and I came down
" Only Brune and you ? " the man repeated
and then began cursing.
" Hush. Do hush," cried Harvey greatly
shocked. As the man did not heed him he added,
" I'll leave you if you don't stop."
242 A Maid of the Mountains
" YerVe got to help me. I'm hurt. When we
" Why did you run ? What were you afraid
The man did not pay the least attention to the
questions. " I caught my foot an' over I went.
I tried to get up but I can't stand on my foot.
Hit's awful bad. I jes' had to groan when my
dawg Brune "
"Your dog?" repeated Harvey. "You are
Samuel Cornwell then, Carol's father ? "
" What yer know 'bout Carol ? "
" My friend, Beth Davenport "
" Ye're one of the 'ris'crats on the hill then,'*
muttered Cornwell. " If I wasn't hurt, I'd see
yer damned 'fore I asked any thin' from yer or
yer kind. But now yer've got to help me get
hum, or it'll be the worse fer yer." He was in-
clined to be quarrelsome for he was evidently
under the influence of liquor. " Yer got to get
me a horse to carry me. Can't walk," he mut-
tered doggedly. Evidently he did not recognize
Harvey who decided to say nothing of the meet-
ing in the afternoon.
" You must try to walk," commanded Harvey,
believing that perhaps drunkenness kept him
Cornwell obediently rose, but sank back with
a groan so very real that Harvey was assured
that he was not shamming.
CaroVs Father 243
" Hain't no use. Yer reckon I'd be here if I
could gotten 'way ? "
Harvey, hardly knowing what to do, tried very
hard to plan some way to get Corn well home.
" If I bring a mule, do you think you'll be able
to ride ? " he asked presently.
" If yer'd help me up, I'd ride all right."
Harvey decided to go for Kueur. " I'll be back
in a short time," he promised. As he started
away, Brune would have followed, had not Corn-
well called gruffly :
" Here, Brune, yer stay right here with me."
And then he swore at the dog so vigorously that
Harvey thought it might be right to leave him to
his suffering had it not been for his wife's
As Harvey hurried along the road, it came to
him again how Gustus always whistled or sang
to keep the " spooks " away.
"It's so dark, to-night, he'd have to make an
awful noise to keep up his courage at all," thought
He knew that he would have no difficulty in
getting the mule, as the Davenports' barn was
never locked even at night, and he felt sure that
Beth would approve of his taking her pet.
" Kueur is figuring quite a good deal in ' 'spe-
riences,' as Beth would say," he thought later,
when he had the mule saddled and was on the
244 -^ ilfat'c/ of the Mountains
"I 'lowed yer was gwinter stay all night,"
complained Cornwell as Harvey dismounted be-
side him. Harvey considered such a complaint
unfair, as he had hurried as fast as possible.
*' Dunno how I'll make it. My foot hurts pow-
erful bad, an' I feel mighty shaky," he continued,
nevertheless with Harvey's aid he managed to
swing up into the saddle.
Cornwell appeared so decidedly " shaky " that
Harvey decided to lead Rueur. Brune trotted
along beside him, and thus they made their way
slowly back to the hut in the hollow.
" The ole woman 'lows that I drink," Cornwell
muttered confidentially, as Harvey helped him
down. " 'Course she's 'staken, but she'll kinder
go fer me jes' the same, but yer watch an' see
how I fool her."
Harvey tied Rueur, and then helped Cornwell
'' Drunk agin," cried Mrs. Cornwell at sight of
the staggering man. She sprang up in bed, and
her fever-lit eyes flashed. "If I war 'round
thar'd be no carry in' on like this, Sam 'el Corn-
well. I'd not have hit. Yer'd have to do some-
thin' fer yer young uns or go not to cum back."
Cornwell sank down on the nearest chair.
" Don't 'cite yerself, Maria. Hit's a right pooty
evenin'. Too pooty to 'cite yerself."
" Sam'el," and his wife began to sob, " I "
" Oh, shut up," growled Cornwell. " I'm hurt.
Carol's Father 245
Help me off with this boot. Hit hurts powerful
bad," he added to Harvey.
The foot was so swollen that with great dif-
ficulty the boot came off. His suffering some-
what appeased his wife.
" Carol, get a bucket of water an' let yer paw
soak his foot," she said in milder tones. " Then
yer kin come to bed, Sam'el. I'll not talk 'til
Beth rose from her seat beside the fire. Her
heart was heavy, which was even worse than
being so tired.
" We'll go if you don't need us any more," she
" Dunno as thar's nought yer kin do," muttered
Mrs. Cornwell. " Dunno as thar's nought noan
Outside the two children breathed a little freer,
although what they had just witnessed made
more apparent, more horribly real, the awful
effects of sin than anything they had ever ex-
" You ride up the hill," proposed Harvey in a
hushed voice, and he helped her into the saddle.
Then he walked along by her side.
Beth was too deeply stirred even for question-
ing, and Harvey was not talkative, so in unbroken
silence they proceeded.
Fireflies alone indicated that there was other
life still in the universe. Every once in a while
246 A Maid of the Mountains
little flashes of light relieved the pitch darkness
of the sleeping world. Beth wished that she
might see some such flash of light in the darkness
that enveloped the Corn well family, but search
as she would, she could find none.
" Oh, Harvey, what is to become of them ? "
He had no answer. No flash of light shone to
his sense for the wretched family in the hollow.
All night he dreamed of revenue officers chas-
ing illegal distillers. In fact he thought himself
an officer, and such a capable one that finally all
drinking in Tremont ceased.
The subject had taken such a strong hold of
his mind that in the morning, immediately after
breakfast, he started down to the railroad to see
where he and Brune slid down the embankment.
He felt sure of finding the spot by the uprooted
bushes and stone. Before starting out, he related
to the family the adventure of the night before.
At the track he met Marian who was returning
from an errand, and she joined Harvey.
" Here's the very spot," called Harvey, excit-
edly. " I'd never have dared go down in day-
light. It's even steeper than I thought."
" It's a wonder you didn't break your neck,"
declared Marian, shuddering to think that he had
been so foolhardy.
" Why, there's Brune," called Harvey suddenly.
" I wonder if he's come to see what a wonderful
feat we accomplished last night."
Carol's Father 247
" And there's Carol ! " exclaimed Marian.
" Hello, Carol ! "
The mountain girl who was still half hidden by
underbrush, had not noted them or heard their
voices until Marian called, although she was
climbing nearer to them quickly and easily.
" Why don't you go on a little farther where
it's not so steep," called Harvey, thinking of his
" Law, this hain't nothin'." And to show that
she meant it, she climbed the steep embankment
with as little effort as many people walk on level
"I hain't lived on the side of a mountain
so long a time fer nothin'," she boasted as
she halted beside them without the least lack of
" What have you there, Carol ? " questioned
Marian, indicating a jug that the girl was carry-
ing. Carol hung her head.
"Is it molasses?" continued unsuspicious
Carol shook her head. " I done wish hit war
merlasses," she muttered. " Hit wouldn't do no
harm as this '11."
All at once, it flashed through Marian's mind
what the jug contained.
" You shouldn't go for liquor for your father.
Where did you buy it?" demanded Marian
248 A Maid of the Mountains
Carol continued to hang her head. " I darsen't
tell. He'd kill me."
" Who ? Your father ? "
Carol did not answer.
*' You got it from that house down there,"
Marian continued eagerly, pointing to the house
in the shadow of the railroad embankment. " I
know you got it there."
Carol looked up in surprise. "How'd yer
know ? Did yer see me ? "
Marian was exultant. Her father could now
stop the illegal sales, she thought.
" You must come right along up to the house
with us, Carol."
The mountain girl held back, until Marian in-
sisted with so much vigor that she had no choice
but to obey.
Half-way home, they came across Mr. Daven-
port who was just returning from the village.
*' Papa, they do sell liquor in your house," cried
Marian. "Carol just bought some there. It's
here in this jug." She pointed to the jug as if
she feared it contained a viper that might spring
out on them any minute.
Carol was growing scared of the scene that she
knew awaited her at home if her part in the dis-
closure were revealed.
" I hain't tole nothin'," she sobbed. " She said
she knew I got hit from you uns' house. An'
paw'll kill me if he hears of this."
Carol's Father 249
" ril see that he does not hurt you, but you
must tell me just how you got the whisky," an-
swered Mr. Davenport lirmly.
Fiually, under his searchmg questioning, she
admitted that she had passed money and a jug
through a hole into the house, and that the jug
had been returned to her filled.
" You let me have that w^hisky, Carol," com-
manded Mr. Davenport.
"I darsen't. Paw'd kill me," she repeated.
Mr. Davenport took some money from his
pocket. " Here is the same amount you passed
in for the whisky, Carol. Take it back to your
father and tell him the place has been closed by
my order. You will be telling no lie, for I shall
immediately demand my lease back. The man
will not dare object when he finds out that I
know what is going on."
Carol was only too glad to obey. She was old
enough to realize that liquor was the great curse
on her home life, for all in her family had suffered
while her father was under its baneful influ-
" You uns air very good to we uns," she mur-
mured, and then started homeward. Marian
walked on a little way wnth her.
" Can't you talk to your father and get him to
do better, Carol ? "
" Me talk to him ? Hit'd do no good at all.
Maw's done talked to him all mornin'." She
250 A Maid of the Mountains
walked on a moment in stolid silence, then she
had an unexpected inspiration.
" I reckon if yer'd talk to paw hit moight do
some good. We uns have all tole him how kind
you uns have been, an' I reckon he moight listen
to yer this afternoon when he's sobered up. Will
yer come down ? "
Marian's breath was so taken away by the
proposition that she stopped perfectly still. Carol
looked at her wistfully waiting for an answer.
"If — if I can come I will," gasped Marian
finally, and then fled toward home.
Carol's words, " hit moight do him some good,"
kept ringing in Marian's ears.
" ' Hit moight do him some good,' — what pos-
sible good could I do ? " she wondered in a petu-
lant mood. " I wouldn't know what to say. I
hate to go. I won't go."
But although she declared this over and over
to herself, conscience finally drew her down to
the hut rather late in the afternoon. She took
Duke with her as she felt a little less timid with
" I can't say a word to Carol's father," she said
to herself at the door of the hut. " It's no good
at all my coming."
She w^as more than half inclined to return
without letting her coming be known, but Carol,
who had been on the lookout for her all the after-
noon, spied her before she could sneak away.
CaroVs Father 251
" I knew yer'd come," she cried, running out,
and then she led poor, trembling Marian within.
" Howdy," said Mrs. Cornwell from the bed.
"Carol said as how yer'd come, an' we've all
been 'spectin' yer. Sam'el, here's one of the
young ladies from the hill come to see yer."
He sat with his back to Marian. When he
found that he could not get liquor, he had con-
sented to drink some coffee prepared by Carol,
and afterward he had eaten something, so that
now he was perfectly sober and in a somewhat
chastened mood, because he had been unable to
escape the lecturing of his wife.
*' Howdy," he grunted, but did not turn to look
Duke walked over beside Mr. Cornwell and
sniffed at him. Carol had inherited her fondness
for dogs from her father. When in his right
mind, he was always good to animals, and now
he responded to Duke's advances by patting his
head. To Marian's surprise, Duke did not
resent the attention. As a rule, Duke did not
make friends so easily, especially with strange
" Duke sees that I'm trying to be friendly, and
he's helping me," Marian decided.
Carol had drawn a chair near to her father for
Marian, but seated in it Marian felt more uncom-
fortable than ever. She was even more tongue-
252 A Maid of the Mountains
tied than she had feared. She could think of
absolutely nothing to say.
"That's a moighty val'ble dawg, paw," said
Carol finally to break the embarrassing silence.
" How much was hit yer sister tole me yer paw
was willin' to giv' for him 'fore the man made a
present of him to yer sister ? "
Marian could talk on this subject. " I've for-
gotten just what papa offered, but the man who
gave Duke to Beth had an offer of a hundred dol-
lars for him, but would not take it. And we've
been offered big prices for him, too, but we
wouldn't think of selling Duke, for we love him
too much. Once in Jacksonville, he was stolen,
and papa got him back by giving a large re-
Samuel Corn well eyed Duke with new interest.
" I reckon if I had a dawg worth that much, I'd
sell," he muttered, " tho' I do 'low some dawgs
air better than mankind," he added, and then set-
tled back into a gloomy silence.
Bashfulness once more seized upon Marian.
Carol rose, and walked over to 'Liz'beth who was
whimpering slightly, and patted her until she
was quiet. On her way back, she paused a mo-
ment beside Marian.
" Paw's 'shamed of hisse'f. Talk to him," she
Marian felt more like sinking through the floor
than ever. She could not have done what Carol
CaroVs Father 253
wished, at the moment, not even if she had been
assured that by so doing Samuel Cornwell would
be saved from drink forever. The silence was
most embarrassing, notwithstanding which Marian
had not the power to break it. She wondered
why she had come when she felt beforehand that
she could do no good.
" They'll blame me if I leave without saying
anything, but I just can't say a word," she thought
" Yer know yer paw owns this place, an' we
hain't any money to pay this month," sighed
Mrs. Corn well.
" An' I reckon he'll be turnin' us out next,"
added Samuel Cornwell fiercely, facing Marian
for the first time.
The cords of her tongue loosened. Her eyes
were pathetic in the intentness of her feelings.
*' I know my father'll not be hard on you, and if
you'd only work, he'd give you plenty to do."
In answer he laughed harshly. " I hain't no
sort of good at workin' land, an' no one'll trust
me to work at my trade."
" What is your trade ? " Marian hoped to dis-
cover something whereby he could be helped, and
in her excitement she clasped her hands nerv-
" 'Fore I — I " He almost said " before I
drank," but suddenly grew ashamed of his sin in
the presence of his visitor. " I was a carpenter
254 A Maid of the Mountains
years gone by, but when we uns came up this
here way thar war nothin' fer me to do 'cept
plough rocky land, an' I hain't cut out fer no sech
work as that. I hate hit an' I'll not do hit."
Marian was thinking, " If he's a carpenter, as
he says, he's the very man to help us out of our
She turned to him with shining eyes. " I've
thought of something that you can do to help
your family, Mr. Cornwell."
He had not been spoken to in such kindly tones
for a long while. He stirred uneasily in his chair,
and tried to keep his eyes from her pleading face,
but she attracted him to her in spite of himself.
" You know we're getting up an entertainment
for the benefit of the baby — your baby, little
Elizabeth," continued the pleading, eager young
voice. *• We're to have it down here, and we
need a platform, oh, so much. I know my father
would furnish the material if you'd only build it
for us. Please say you will, and I'll be so happy.
Your family will be so glad to have you working
for them. Will you build it for us ? "
" Oh, paw," cried Carol.
" Sam'el, I'll forgive a heap if you'll do hit,"
murmured his wife.
He muttered something about " not bein' pes-
tered with women folks."
" Oh, paw," repeated Carol, on the verge of
CaroVs Father iSS
" Do it because you want to help," cried Marian,
jumping up in her eagerness.
He had fully intended to refuse, but could not
withstand the pleading in her face. For a mo-
ment he said nothing, until Duke who had risen
stood by him as if to add his persuasion to the
others. Unconsciously, CornwelPs hand sought
the dog's head and rested gently there.
" Well, well," he said gruffly, " seein's how yer
want hit so much, an' if my foot's better, an' yer
don't pester me no more, I'll do hit."
" Oh, thank you, Mr. Corn well ; you're a very
nice man. I must run now and tell the others,"
and Marian departed with a very much lighter
The day of the entertainment dawned as bright
as even Beth desired. She was awake long be-
fore it was time to rise, nevertheless she dressed
and hurried down to the kitchen, but, much to
her disappointment, Maggie was not yet visible.
"I'll measure out things, anyway," decided
Beth. And she bustled around getting out sugar,
butter, eggs and other necessary ingredients for
cake, and thus Maggie found her. The cook had
to rub her eyes to make sure that she was fully
" Law, honey, what yo' doin' in my kitchen dis
early ? Yo' surely ought to be gettin'yo' beauty
sleep so's to look fine for the en'tainment."
" Maggie, it just came to me last night that it
would make the affair more socialabler " — she
sometimes invented words for her own use — " if we
were to furnish 'freshments, so mamma promised
that we could have lemonade and cake, and I'm
to make the cake myself. Julia and Marian are
just to help with frostings. Isn't it too lovely for
anything, Maggie ? "
26o A Maid of the Mountains
Her mammy did not look as enthusiastic as
" Hump," she muttered, " yo' 'specs me to
think it too lovely fer anythin' when yo' come
'round so early in de mornin' mussin' my kitchen
all up ? How yo' 'specs I'se to get breakfas' if
yo's under my feet ? "
" Now Maggie, dear "
" I ain't dear nothin'. I'll not have it, an' yo'
might as well get out of my kitchen firs' as las'.
So go 'long wid yo'."
Beth knew there was no arguing with Maggie
when in her present mood. The cook was the
autocrat of the kitchen, and if she persisted in
her waywardness there would be no cake served
*' Just as you say, Maggie," Beth answered
meekly, knowing w^ell how best to attain her
ends, " but you do want the entertainment to be
a success, so please help me with the cakes after
breakfast. There's a dear."
" Hump," muttered Maggie for the second
time, but she w^as almost smiling now. " We'll
see later," she added as Beth was leaving, so that
Beth knew that she had carried the day.
Mr. Davenport was the next member of the
household to arise.
" Papa, let's take a walk down to the hollow,"
proposed Beth. " Maggie is just starting break-
fast and so we have plenty of time. I want to
The Entertainment 261
make sure the platform is done. You know it
wasn't quite finislied last night, but Mr. Cornvvell
promised to work at it this morning."
As they started down the hill, she continued,
" Wasn't it fine for Marian to think of his help-
ing us ? He's done extra well, too. You said so
yourself, and I w^ant you to get him work."
He smiled at her eagerness. " We'll see how
sober he keeps."
"He'll ha\,^e to keep sober now that they've
stopped selling liquor at your house."
He would not tell her so, but he knew there
were other ways for a drinking man to get liquor
even in a '' dry " town.
" Beth," he said to change the subject, " you
have us all guessing what you've planned to have
Carol do this afternoon."
She smiled up at him brightly. "That's a
great secret. It was very hard to get her to
promise to do it, but now that she has, I think
you'll all like what she does, if she doesn't get
scared. I don't know much about s Oh,
there, I most told you — but I think she does ' it '
pretty well. Isn't it a lovely day ? " she cried
changing the subject for fear she might unwit-
tingly betray her secret, and she pranced on
ahead so full of joy was she over the prospects
of the day before her.
Soon she saw Carol and her brothers and sisters
standing on the platform Mr. Cornwell had built.
262 A Maid of the Mountains
" Hit's all done," called Carol up to her. " Paw
got up very early an' went to work, but the
minute he wuz through, he started right off, an'
maw's worried fer fear " She stopped ab-
ruptly as she did not wish to cast any shadow over
Beth on this day of all days. " I'm so glad the
sun is shinin'," she addded as Mr. Davenport
and Beth drew near.
Beth's face fairly beamed. " Everything's
going beautifully. We were worried about
Julia's dress not coming, but she finally got it on
last night's train. It had gone to Asheville by
mistake. You just ought to see all our dresses.
We all have new ones and they're beauties. Come
up some time this morning and I'll show them to
A shadow that Beth did not notice, fell over
Carol's face and, as the mountain girl was still
intent on keeping all trouble from her, she gave
no voice to the matter that had just made her
Not until Beth and her father had departed,
did she give way to her feelings. Then she sank
down on a step of the platform and her head
sank dejectedly into her hands.
"What's the matter, Carol?" asked one of
the children eyeing her curiously.
" Nothin'," she answered dully, and then
added crossly, " Go 'long, every one of yer. I
hain't in no mood to be bothered by any of yer."
The Entertainment 263
" Carol ! " called her mother at the moment,
*' 'Liz'beth's cryin\ Come an' take her."
She choked the sob that contracted her throat ;
wiped the tears from her eyes, and then went for
With 'Liz'beth once in her arms, she hurried
outside beyond the sight of any one, and then
sank down on a log. She no longer tried to still
the tempest that was raging within. With her
charge held very close, her tears fell on the
" Hit's most fer yer I mind," she sobbed. " I
can't take yer the way yer air, an' she'll be dread-
ful dis'pinted. How kin I tell her ? How kin
I do hit, but I jes' must."
In happy unconsciousness of the trouble she
had caused, the morning passed quickly to Beth.
Toward noon several fine cakes besides lemon
juice and sherbet glasses were borne in triumph
down to the hollow. Not until then did Beth
wonder why Carol had not put in an appearance.
*' Gustus, do you know what's become of
Carol ? " she asked.
" I ain't seen her. Missy Beth."
She looked slightly troubled. " You must find
her for me, Gustus. I forgot to tell her to come
up to my room after lunch, and it will spoil the
whole afternoon if she don't come. So you must
find her for me."
Gustus' eyes rolled tragically, for he was very
264 A Maid of the Mountains
much interested. " Don't yo' worry, Missy Betli,
fer I'll shurelv hav' her thar fer yo'."
Notwithstanding this reassurance, Beth was
troubled for fear her surprise for Carol would be
" Can't you find her ? " she cried eagerly, when
Gustus came into the dining-room toward the
close of the noonday meal, looking very hot and
" Ain't found her yet, Missy Beth, but I jes'
came to tole yo' dat she wuz seen up disaway
wid de baby, but she's nowhars 'bout now as I
Tears came into Beth's eyes. " How could I
forget to tell her to come up ? " she murmured
"Never mind, Beth, she's sure to be found.
Go up and dress yourself, and by the time you're
ready Gustus will have found her," said Marian,
trying to hold a cheerful view of the situation,
although she, too, was disappointed that the
mountain girl was not on hand, knowing the
surprise Beth had in store for her.
On the way up-stairs Beth was only a little
cheered, for if Carol were not found her own
pleasure in her own new gown would be spoiled.
She opened the door of her room more quietly
" Oh ! " she exclaimed, surprised and greatly
pleased. Carol, with 'Liz'beth in her arms, was
The Entertainment 265
seated in a rocker facing the south window. She
jumped to her feet, pressing 'Liz'beth convulsively
to her breast, and held her there with one arm
while she raised the other to brush some tears
from her cheeks.
" Carol, what's the matter ? You mustn't cry
on the afternoon of your entertainment," Beth
cried, rushing over beside her protege.
Carol was too embarrassed and too miserable
to speak. She sobbed outright. Then 'Liz'beth
began to whimper, and the two cried together.
Beth was at her wits' end. It was time to be
dressing, and she knew not what to do to cheer
her two guests, and then there was Gustus hunt-
ing Carol. He, too, should be getting ready.
" Maggie," she called, running to the head of
the stairs, ^* Carol's up here. Please call Gustus
and tell him to get ready."
^' All right, honey."
*' Now see here, Carol, this will never do," con-
tinued Beth, once more going over beside her.
" If you and 'Liz'beth cry, the people will see it
"No, they won't," burst out Carol between
sobs. "You uns'U hate me fer hit, but "
sobs choked her so that she could not go on.
Beth was getting desperate. " Stop this min-
ute, Carol, and tell me what's the matter."
"'Liz'beth an' me hain't to take part. We
can't do hit."
266 A Maid of the Mountains
Beth sank down on a chair. "Not take part?
Carol shook her head stubbornly, but said no
more. Whereupon Beth jumped up and put her
arms around the girl.
" You wouldn't spoil everything, Carol? Now
let me take 'Liz'beth while you dry your eyes.
We must dress."
Carol clung more steadfastly to the baby. Her
lip trembled pathetically, while she gulped down
" That's hit," she murmured. " 'Liz'beth an'
me hain't anythin' to " She paused ashamed.
" You uns won't understand, but I can't disgrace
yer even though yer thinks hit pride, an' I hain't
no money to buy new things. Yer wouldn't want
us to 'pear in these duds, would yer ? "
With light as to the cause of Carol's refusal to
take part, joy flooded Beth's soul. She tore over
to the bed, and seized a pretty white gown that
lay next to her own.
" Oh, I'm so glad we thought of it ! " she cried,
turning a beaming face toward the puzzled girl
in the room with her. " I'm so glad I'd most
outgrown it, aren't you ? "
" Glad ? " repeated Carol, more puzzled. " Hit
am jes' grand, but hit looks rale small fer yer."
Beth laughed outright. With the dress thrown
over her shoulder, she seized Carol, still with the
baby, and tried to whirl her around.
The Entertdinment 267
" So you like it ? I think it'll just fit you, Carol."
" Yes, it's for you." Beth let go her hold to
watch the effect of her words.
Carol's eyes almost popped out of her head.
To her the idea of possessing anything so dainty
as the dress in question seemed incredible.
" Me — me to have hit ? " she gasped, hugging
the baby so tight that its wizened face puckered
until it was on the verge of crying again.
" Of course, you're to have it, if you care for
"Care for hit?" and then Carol burst into
tears once more.
"Why, what's the matter now?" Beth was
afraid she was hurt over being offered second-
"I never 'spected nothin' so grand after we
uns heard our money warn't comin'," she an-
swered between sobs, and while she patted
" It isn't a bit too grand for you." Beth was
overjoyed at the success of her surprise. " Lay
'Liz'beth on the bed while you and I dress, and
you can look over these other things I have for
Still Carol hesitated. Her face was again
" What's the matter now ? " Beth cried, noting
268 A Maid of the Mountains
Carol hung her head. " I — I was only wishin'
hit would go on 'Liz'beth. Couldn't we pin hit
on her so hit wouldn't look bad ? I don't mind
'bout myself if she looks perat-like."
Beth was ashamed of her momentary impa-
tience. " You're a dear, unselfish girl, and I'm a
very thoughtless one. I've "
"You're the best I ever knowed," murmured
Carol, with her eyes slightly dim.
Beth drew her over toward the bed.
" Mrs. Morton was the one to think of them,"
she said, but Carol could not imagine what she
meant until Beth grasped an armful of dainty
white from the bed and added :
" She sent North for these for 'Liz'beth. They
belonged to her baby, and at first she thought
she couldn't part with them, but now she really
wants 'Liz'beth to wear them to-day, and you're
to own them afterward, too."
" Oh," gasped Carol. Her heart was full to
running over, still she had no words to express
her joy. She could only stand and eye her won-
drous gifts reverently, not daring yet even to
" Are you really pleased ? " asked Beth, fearful
that Carol did not fully appreciate Mrs. Morton's
generosity. " What shall I say to Mrs. Morton
for you, or will you thank her yourself ? "
" That's hit. I kin never find words to make
The Entertainment 269
her know how I feel, but maybe yer kin tell her
" How do you feel, Carol ? ''
For a moment she could not answer. Only
after a struggle did she voice her joy.
" I feel like 'Liz'beth an' me was bein' clothed
in heavenly white. I heard a sermon 'bout bein'
clothed in the white the Bible tells 'bout," she
explained, and now that wonder had given place
to joy in her expression, Beth was more than sat-
isfied. Carol gained courage and stepped nearer
to the treasures, and even touched some of the
lace, but very carefully, as if it were of a cob-
webby nature that might be hurt by a touch.
" I understand how Mrs. Morton feels 'bout
any one wearin' her baby's clothes," she contin-
ued, " an' hit am powerful good in her to let we
uns have 'um, an' please tell her fer me I'll al-
ways be very careful when 'Liz'beth has 'um on
jes' like people air of their clothes at meetin'.
They're so grand I'll always hav' that feelin'
'bout um anyway."
Beth wished that Mrs. Morton could see and
hear her, but she intended to do her best describ-
ing Carol's joy. She was sorry she could not
talk more on the subject, but she knew it was time
for them to be dressing.
" Maggie, will you come up and dress 'Liz'-
beth ? " she called, running to the door.
270 A Maid of the Mountains
Carol looked wistful. " Let me dress her. I'd
jes' love to do hit."
Beth shook her head. " You'll not have time.
We must get ready ourselves while Maggie's fix-
A moment later Maggie came puffing into the
room and took the baby from Carol.
" Hump," she muttered, and then added, " I'm
jes' 'cited to know what yo' thinks ob all dese
gran' new fixin's, an' ob my little missy here fer
gettin' so many frills for yo' an' de chile. Eh,
tell me dat now ? "
" Maggie, don't bother us," begged Beth, coax-
Carol looked up into the black face wistfully.
" She's — she's powerful good," she faltered as
much at a loss for words as she had been a few
minutes before when thinking of Mrs. Morton's
kindness. Then, overcoming her bashfulness, she
added, " I love her mor'n any one in all the worl'
'less hit be 'Liz'beth thar, an' I only love her
more 'cause she needs me so very much."
" Carol, we must hurry," cautioned Beth not
wishing Maggie to draw out any more praise
But Maggie was softened, and while she washed
and dressed the baby, she thought :
" I 'lowed I knowed all 'bout pooh white trash,
an' at firs' I counted Carol as one ob dem, but I
reckon I wuz clean 'staken. Dey ain't grateful
The Entertainment 271
an' she certainly am. Maybe my honey lamb
knows moah dan her black mammy heah, an'
Carol's dif runt dan I 'lowed."
Meantime Carol had difficulty in dressing her-
self so intent was she on the transformation that
Maggie was bringing about, but as Beth would
not allow her to stop in her own toilet, by the
time Maggie had 'Liz'beth all arrayed in her new
finery, the two girls themselves were ready.
Then Carol gazed with all her might at 'Liz-
'beth, and the look in her eyes made Maggie's
own eyes moist, so that she placed the baby in
Carol's arms. Carol held the little one reverently
looking down at her charge as if she had an angel
direct from God.
" She done has a look jes' like some ob dem
maidonners dat Miss Mary has in de pictures
down-stairs," speculated Maggie to herself.
Carol turned to Beth. " Hain't she peart-like ?
Hain't she sweet ? I didn't 'low she could 'pear
Her enthusiasm touched Beth, although she
could not view the baby with Carol's eyes. Beth
only saw a wizened child less unattractive than
usual because of the neatness, the daintiness of its
attire. But to Carol, 'Liz'beth was transformed
so that she was actually beautiful.
" Oh, I'll not be scared now," cried Carol as
she gazed rapturously, " an' I'll sure do yer
proud. Why I could face a lot of " — she paused
272 A Maid of the Mountains
for a word sufficiently strong to voice her senti-
ment, " a lot of bars," she added, " an' not be a
mite scared. I'll jes' think of this beaut'ful baby,
an' my heart'll clean well over."
" And I never saw you look so nice. The dress
fits you as if it were made for you. Why, Carol,
you're really pretty in it." Then Beth blushed
fearing that the mountain girl might see that
never before had she thought her good looking.
" It's very becoming," she added in confusion,
" but it's because you're so proud and pleased
about 'Liz'beth that makes you look the nicest."
'' That's hit." Carol was not hurt but pleased.
"Are you ready, Beth?" called Julia at
the door. " Marian and Harvey have gone
" Come in and let us see how you look," cried
Beth. " Oh," she gasped at sight of her little
friend. " You look more like a cherub than
Julia, arrayed in a costume she had worn in a
flower dance in Florida, stood in the middle of
the room, flushing with pleasure over their evi-
" Yo's jes' like a Floridah rose come to life,"
Carol who felt called upon to say something,
was decidedly at a loss for words but managed to
say, "yer look like a — a — well, rale, rale peart-
The Entertainment 273
" I never saw you look better," answered Julia
Carol held up the baby. " An' jes' see 'Liz'-
beth. Hain't she a rale little beauty ? "We uns
air so fine an' we owe hit all to her " — looking
toward Beth, "an' to Mrs. Morton. We uns kin
never do 'nuff fer um."
" We'd better hurry," interrupted Beth. " Mag-
gie, are you coming down with us ? "
Maggie tossed her head. '* Law, honey, don't
yo' reckon I has to spruce up firs' myself ? I'se
goin' to wear all de finery I has to do yo' proud.
Yes, 'deed, honey, so run 'long wid yo'."
" Lots of people are sure to come. It's such a
fine afternoon," declared Julia on the way to the
hollow. Summer warmth was in the streaming
sunshine but was pleasantly tempered by a cool-
" To think that the summer is o^oino^ to be such
a nice one when it began so badly for me makes
me too happy for anything," cried Beth, skipping
joyously ahead of the others. " I've a feeling
that only good can come to me now, which makes
me glad all the time. I haven't told you, Carol,
that papa has promised to take us camping very
soon, and perhaps you can come up and visit us."
" Me — me to go campin' ? I'd like that power-
" Harvey's having a great time with the cur-
tain," called Marian who saw them coming.
274 -A. Maid of the Mountains
Then they all hurried up on the platform
where both Harvey and Gustus were striving to
see what was wrong with the ropes strung from
two poles by which they meant to slide the cur.
tain draped across the front of the platform.
" They don't go unless we pull them by hand,"
explained Harvey. " I can't fix them and it's too
late to get any one."
" I'll tell you what we'll do then," announced
Beth undaunted. " We'll take turns pulling them
back. We can hide behind the curtain like this."
To illustrate, she drew one half of the curtain
back and pulled it around her.
" Put it back quick, Beth. Some one's coming,"
Beth peeked around the curtain. " It's papa
and mamma. They're to receive the people, you
know. Papa'll fix the curtain for us. No he
can't. There come some other people back of
them." She hastily ran the curtain into place.
Gustus stood eyeing her wistfully. " Yo' specs
they'll like my dancin', Missy Beth ? " he asked,
as she retreated toward the middle of the stage.
" Of course they will, Gustus." But she was
so excited that she paid little attention to him
which made him look at her most reproachfully.
" Yo' ain't nebber onct spoke how fine I is,
She looked contrite. " I'm forgetting heaps of
things to-day, Gustus. I just wish your mamma
The Entertainment 275
could see you. She'd hardly know her own son,
Her mind was traveling back over the years to
the time she had discovered Gustus a ragged out-
cast. That the boy now before her, neatly
dressed and with his black face scrubbed so clean
that it was shiny, could ever have been unkempt
seemed almost impossible.
'' Why wouldn't she know me ? " he asked,
hungering for flattery.
" Because you look so very, very fine, Gustus,"
she answered sufficiently enthusiastic to satisfy
With her thoughts turned to the subject of
dress, Beth noted that Marian looked unusually
well in a shirred gown of pink, and that Harvey
appeared very manly even though he wore knee-
breeches like the master of a circus ring.
" Lots of people are coming," called Marian
with her eyes glued to the parting in the curtain.
" We're going to have a crowd sure," Julia
said pirouetting around the stage in her delight.
*' I'd better see that the dogs are all right as
they're second on the program," said Harvey, run-
ning down back of the platform to where they
Beth, greatly excited, went over beside Marian
to peek, too.
" They have to crowd together," she whispered,
hereyesshiniug. "There comes Maggie. Papa's
276 A Maid of the Mountains
making room on the front seat for her. My, isn't
she fine ! She has on that green silk dress that she
treasures so. "What do you think of that, Marian
Davenport ? That shows that she takes as much
interest as any of us. I really believe she's got-
ten so that she's fond of Carol, although she
hasn't owned it to me."
" It's most time to begin," said Harvey a mo-
ment later, bringing a chair up on the platform
with him. Beth hustled Carol and the baby over
in it. Then she skipped back to the opening to
have one last look before they pulled back the
Her heart leaped convulsively. Every seat
appeared to be occupied, and still people were
flocking down the hill. Where could they all be
seated ? she wondered.
Then she saw her father and the minister who
had loaned the benches, bring forward some logs
across which they stretched planks that had been
left from the stage.
Unaccountable fear seized upon Beth. Instead
of pleasing her as it had at first, the sea of faces
now terrified her. How had mere children like
themselves dared undertake to amuse so many
people? Notwithstanding the crowd present,
the affair would be an utter failure. If they
were all as scared as she, they could do nothing
as they had planned, and as for Carol, Beth hardly
dared think how the crowd would affect her.
The Entertainment 277
"I shouldn't have asked her to take part,"
thought Beth. " She'll be frightened out of
her wits and spoil everything from the very
beginning. Why did I insist on having her
first ? "
She hurried over to Carol and whispered, " Re-
member, you're to think of 'Liz'beth. You prom-
ised me that, and you mustn't get scared."
Carol smiled. " She's so peart-like, I'm thinkin'
of nothin' else, an' my heart's singin' in me
Beth was not greatly reassured. " Just wait
until she sees the crowd, and then she'll think of
something else," she thought, and gave a nervous
start as the audience began clapping, which only
made her more agitated.
" The}'^ want us to begin," murmured Harvey.
Beth looked at him and saw that he was pale
himself. "He's afraid she'll fail, too," she
thought, but she would have been more troubled
if she had dreamed that he was nervous on his
"Harvey, they're getting impatient. Go on
out," commanded Marian.
After hesitating another moment, he stepped
through the opening between the curtains and
bowed to the audience. New applause greeted
him, and he had to wait for the noise to die
" It's all quiet now, why don't he go on with
278 A Maid of the Mountains
his speech ? " whispered Beth to Julia. " They're
waiting, and he shouldn't keep them waiting."
" Ladies and gentlemen," began Harvey, and
Once more they clapped, and some one called,
Whereupon a dead silence again reigned, while
Harvey stood pale and trembling before them.
Stage fright had seized upon him so that every
word of his speech went from him.
" Carol and the baby 'Liz'beth," he announced,
and hurriedly fled back of the curtains.
" Harvey, go out again," implored Beth. " It's
a shame for them not to hear that lovely speech
you had such a time making up and learning."
But he was deaf to her appeal. " Pull the cur-
tain back," he whispered. "We've told about
Carol and 'Liz'beth all over town, so that people
will understand just as well."
He began pulling back his side of the curtain,
and Beth saw there was nothing to do but draw
back her side, too.
Another round of applause followed. Carol
looked up troubled, so that Beth feared that
stage fright was going to overmaster her also.
" They're clapping because 'Liz'beth looks so
sweet," she whispered across to Carol. She never
even blushed over the falsehood.
Carol's face immediately lighted up, although
tears came into her blue eyes feeling their kind-
The Entertainment 279
ness so deeply. Suddenly she held the baby out
so the people could the better see her darling.
" You uns air powerful good," she murmured.
The clapping ceased, to hear what she was saying.
Beth's heart stopped beating an instant, and then
began thumping wildly. That Carol should speak
was not down on the program, and Beth greatly
feared that she might say something that she
" A nice, kind lady guv these air grand clothes
to 'Liz'beth," continued Carol, feeling instinctively
that Mrs. Morton would not like her name used,
" an' Beth Davenport guv me my dress. If hit —
I should say it. She's teachin' me that — if it
hadn't been for her, we uns'd hav' starved. I
can't tell how good she's been."
" Hush, hush," murmured Beth, overcome, but
Carol was so intent on what she had to say that
she would not heed.
" She 'lowed that I should sing for you uns. I
hain't never had no lessons 'cept from Don — he
wuz my robin an' he sung powerful pretty. 1
don't sing as nice as him, but Beth Davenport
tole me to sing jes' as I do to 'Liz'beth here, an'
only to think of her. She says as how you uns
air so kind, you uns won't mind no mistakes."
'Liz'beth began to whimper while she spoke,
and Carol drew the babe closer to her motherly
heart. Back and forth she began to sway, rock-
ing the baby, while in her ordinary every-day
28o A Maid of the Mountains
way she started a simple little air to quiet her
charge, and in a moment or two forgot that peo-
ple were listening. So quiet were thej that the
spell was unbroken.
Her words, " I hain't never had no lessons 'cept
from Don — he wuz my robin, an' he sung power-
ful pretty," repeated themselves to Mrs. Mor-
ton, and she leaned far forward in her seat to
Carol did more than sing " powerful pretty " ;
she sang with deep feeling, and, while she plainly
lacked cultivation, her voice was so flexible that
she took very high notes with little effort. Every
word, too, was distinct, and her mountain dialect
added to her charm for the Northerners.
The mother-like love revealed in Carol's face,
and an undercurrent of sadness in her singing,
caused Mrs. Morton's heart to melt so that she
sobbed outright. At first the bereaved mother
had been stabbed to her soul to see another child
wearing her beloved's clothes. But now her per-
sonal loss was swallowed up in a great pity, so
that she was glad that she was not hoarding her
At first the singing only wrought upon her
feelings, but when she began to control them
somewhat, it came to her that Carol really had a
beautiful voice — birdlike in quality — and that it
might be cultivated and thus lift the mountain
waif out of such poverty.
The Entertainment 281
" That voice should be cultivated," she said to
Until this raoment she had thought of Carol as
an ordinary little mountain girl, but now it came
to her that the child had the divine spark of
genius. Not only was there exquisite quality to
Carol's voice, but there was feeling in her soul.
While singing, understanding, not a child's but a
woman's, was vouchsafed her, so that she had
something for every soul present. To the joyful
she gave added joy ; to the sorrowing, she not only
shared their sorrow, but lightened their burden
with hope. At least this was the light with
which Mrs. Morton heard her sing.
"She's wonderful. How did it ever come to
her ? " Mrs. Morton wondered, and fearful that
her own emotions were playing her false, she
tried her best to judge Carol in a purely critical
spirit. She knew herself to be a good judge of
music, and was surprised when even in a quieter
mood her head as well as her heart approved her
*' She's well named. Hereafter, I'll always
think of her as ' my little singing girl, Carol.' I
feel as if I had made a great discovery. I must
give the child a chance," Mrs. Morton promised
Maggie, too, leaned far forward in her seat,
and her eyes grew suspiciously moist. Carol's
singing carried her thoughts to a grave made
282 A Maid of the Mountains
many years before down in Florida, but her loss
was not as keen as Mrs. Morton's, for Beth had
come into her own life to fill the void.
" De good Lawd bless de chile," Maggie prayed
to herself for Carol. " Little missy done know
aftah all what she's 'bout, bein' so good to dat
gal. She ain't no low white trash, even if her
paw am, an' I'll have to make it up to her some
way for my unrighteous scorn, dat's what," and
Maggie surreptitiously wiped a tear from the
corner of her eye.
These two were not the only ones who had
their feelings stirred, for other eyes were tear
dimmed, and the silence attested that Carol had
gained the interest of all.
On and on she sang, for 'Liz'beth was unusually
hard to be pacified, and as she sang, a bird — one
not native to the region, — swerved in its course
and made for a dogwood tree to the left of the
stage. And as it lighted, it burst into song as if
trying to outrival the human singer.
In an instant Beth's attention was riveted on
the bird's song. From her place behind the cur-
tain she could not catch a glimpse of the feath-
ered songster, but she did not need to see, to
know that the bird was her own escaped mock-
ing-bird. No other bird in the world, unless it
were Don, could sing like that except Dick.
The bird's trilling only lasted a moment, and
then away flew Dick, joyful in freedom. But
The Entertainment 283
while he was present Carol had broken off in her
singing, and Beth feared the mountain girl might
have recognized the intruder and been disturbed
thereby. She waited in breathless silence to see
what Carol would do.
Many in the audience had seen the bird fly
away, nevertheless, a moment afterward doubted
its being gone, notwithstanding there was no
visible sign of its whereabouts. Search as they
did, it was not to be seen, although they thought
they heard it, for the trill had been taken up and
a repetition of the bird's first outburst was given,
and then a repetition with variations.
Some believed the mocking-bird must be hid-
ing behind the curtains for the melody unmistak-
ably came from the stage. This was the solution
that Maggie momentarily accepted, until she
made a discovery that brought her to her feet,
forgetful of everything but the astonishing truth.
" I clah to goodness if it ain't Carol, an' not de
mockin'-bird come back," she cried. " Well it
beats all, but I reckon dat bird'd be 'ceived hisself
if he heard her." She sank back to her seat
completely conquered. Beth would nevermore
have trouble in getting Maggie to do deeds of
kindness for Carol.
The truth gradually forced itself into other
minds besides Maggie's, and when there was no
doubt whence came the birdlike song, the audi-
ence broke into tumultuous applause.
284 A Maid of the Mountains
Hastily Carol arose. "Don't, don't," she
called, holding up a warning hand. " You're
wakin' 'Liz'beth," and then again began singing
to quiet her charge.
More because they wished to hear the song
than because of her warning, the noise died down,
but in a moment 'Liz'beth was again asleep,
whereupon Carol turned to leave the stage. Her
admirers were ready to break into applause once
more, had not Carol, at the first clap of hands,
faced them defiantly.
" Hush," she cautioned. " She's sleepin', an'
hit's — it's bad to waken her. I'm goin' to take
her in to maw," and away she started.
Beth and Harvey began pulling on the curtain
to draw it together. Nervousness may have
caused them to pull too vigorously, for the rope
suddenly gave way and down fell the curtains
over them both. In a moment they had twisted
themselves out, but were embarrassed to receive
a round of applause. The audience needed some
outlet for their feelings.
Beth, however, was too delighted with the suc-
cess of Carol's singing to be uncomfortable long
over anything, and catching her father's eye, she
" Papa, come up and fix it for us."
Mr. Davenport hastened to the platform. From
his own state of mind, he knew there could be no
The Entertainment 285
more auspicious moment than the present in
which to open people's purse strings.
" I was not asked to speak," he began facing
the audience, " but you all know the object of
this entertainment, and that we're to give what-
ever we wish. It just occurred to me that while
I'm fixing the curtain, the children had better
take up a contribution," and to set a good ex-
ample, he gave Beth a bill.
" For Carol," he said.
So the girls took the little baskets tied in green
that they had in readiness for the purpose, and
Marian and Julia went to the back benches while
Beth began at the front.
The very first person that Beth came to was
Maggie. Not expecting any donation from her
mammy, she started to pass her by. Maggie
jumped to her feet as quickly as her " rheumat-
ics " would permit.
" See here, honey chile," she called, and others
around listened. " I'm pr'ared to give. I done
axed Miss Mary to 'vance me some money dis
mornin' for dis very purpose."
^' But Maggie," began Beth undecided if it
were fair to receive a contribution from a work-
" Don't hes'tate, honey. De good book says
as how de widow's mite wuz befo 's all. I've
no need ob de money, an' dey has," and
286 A Maid of the Mountains
with the words she dropped a bill into the
" But Maggie, this is more than a mite," cried
Her colored mammy drew herself up and pride
flashed from her eyes.
*' Go 'long, honey. Dat widow's mite wuz
only fig'er ob speech wid me. I done always
worked for de quality." '
Then she reseated herself with a look of con-
scious well doing. Her words brought smiles to
faces all around, while some nodded their ap-
proval at her. But better still her example
proved contagious, and bills and silver rapidly
filled Beth's basket. The other two girls, too,
fared almost as well.
" Missy Beth," said Gustus, running to meet her
as she was carrjung her filled basket back to the
platform, " I seen Maggie givin', an' I wants to
giv' too. Here's a quartah massa gav' me extra
las' week for bein' a good boy, he said, an' I did
'low I'd buy somethin' to take to camp wid us,
but I'd ruther they had it now."
Again Beth hesitated. She knew that Gustus
sent most of his ^vages home, and that all extras
were very precious to him, so she said :
" You do your share by taking part, Gustus."
" Please, Miss}^ Beth, take de money too for it
makes me feel good inside to give it."
She flashed her approval in a smile as the
The Entertainment 287
quarter jingled down among the other coins. She,
herself, felt " good inside " and she added •
" I'm very proud of you, Gustus."
This made him so happy that he thrust his
hands way down in his pockets, and shujffled his
feet around in an irresistible manner.
" I kin do figgers to-day dat'll make dem [N'orth-
erners' eyes open," he whispered. " I feel jes'
like dancin' forebber an' ebber."
The money was placed in Mr. Davenport's
" I know we've taken up more than any of us
expected," said Marian. " We'll have to do ex-
tra well now."
*' Somebody ought to go out in front and thank
them for their goodness. I'll get Harvey," pro-
" Go yourself," said her father. " You helped
collect, and it was your idea having the enter-
Again her heart began thumping wildly, but
she resolutely walked to the front of the stage,
" I — we want to thank you," her voice trem-
bled, but in a moment she gained confidence so
that her words rang clear, " At first I was ter-
ribly scared for fear we could not please you,
but you have given so much money and liked
Carol so well that it will help us to do our best.
We thank you very, very much."
288 A Maid of the Mountains
Her unaffectedness pleased them and they
clapped for her. Again she curtsied and then
By this time repairs were finished and the en-
tertainment proceeded without another flaw.
Each one of the performers, even to the dogs, did
themselves great credit, and received merited
One event of the day that especially pleased
Beth occurred at the very end of the perform-
ance. Some one called for Carol, and immediately
all the audience began calling for her. At first
she was so bashful that Beth could not make her
acknowledge the ovation, but finally they suc-
ceeded in getting her before the curtain where
she bowed awkwardly, for without 'Liz'beth she
" Another bird song from Carol of Carolina,"
called Mrs. Morton and the words were taken up
by many others.
Whereupon Carol rushed in great confusion
back of the curtains, but her flight only made
them more vociferous in their demands.
" You must sing," Beth commanded.
" I hain't 'Liz'beth here to think 'bout. I can't
do hit," she answered so frightened that she
could have cried.-
" Sing for Mrs. Morton and me," Beth implored.
" It'll spoil everything if you don't sing. Don't
The Entertainment 289
think about yourself, just think how much we
want you to sing."
Only a moment longer did Carol hesitate.
**I'll do hit fer yer," she muttered through
clenched teeth. She was evidently still very
much scared, but Beth hoped her grit would
help her out, and fearing also that her nerve
might fail if she waited another moment, Beth
saw that the curtains were drawn back, leaving
Carol in the centre of the stage alone.
For a moment she stood looking around help-
lessly. The clamor subsided, but the stillness
so frightened her that she was tempted to fly.
Beth read her thoughts.
"Do sing," she whispered across to Carol.
" Pretend you're Dick come back, and sing like
he did for me. If you do, I'll never mind again
that you let him go."
The appeal stilled Carol's fright, and she began
thinking of the orange groves in Florida that
Beth had told her about. She imagined that a
new moon was rising over the gleaming river
that flowed softly on one side of the grove. She
saw two birds side by side on a tree and she
pictured to herself how they would talk together
in song. With the scene very real in her own
mind, she began her song. At first it was very
low and sweet, as if the birds feared some in-
truder might be near by to interrupt their love-
290 A Maid of the Mountains
making, but, when the stillness was undisturbed
except by themselves, thej gained confidence,
which the little singer expressed by richer, fuller,
Carol brought her wondrous trilling to an end
amid a storm of applause, but the sweetest praise
to her was when Beth grabbed her and kissed
" I'm proud of you, Carol," she cried. " I had
no idea you could do so well. It's been a grand
success, and ' Carol of Carolina,' as Mrs. Morton
called you, deserves the greatest credit. Hurrah
for Carol of Carolina ! "
One bright morning in early June, Beth arose
a little after daylight. The most desired wish
of her soul was about to be fulfilled. The
Davenports were going camping.
Mr. Davenport and Gustus were to drive the
five miles to Melrose with a wagon load of bag-
gage and provisions. Harvey and the girls were
to go up on the morning train, while Mrs. Daven-
port and Maggie were to wait until the following
morning, when the campers hoped to have every-
thing in fine running order.
Even before the family breakfasted, they be-
gan loading the wagon, and by the time Mr.
Davenport was ready to start, it seemed impos-
sible to pile on anything more.
" Mamma says we must take these blankets,"
cried Beth, rushing out breathlessly, almost lost
behind the load she carried. " It'll be colder up
there than here."
By rearranging the load, the necessary room
was secured. Then Maggie appeared with an
" Hav' yo' done disrec'lected dis ? " she de-
manded. " Yo'd starve sho' dis noon anyways
294 A Maid of the Mountains
if all dese goodies were left 'hind. "Why, Miss
Marian, Missy Beth, Miss Julie an' me worked all
day yesterday makin' pies an' cakes an' cookin'
chicken an' boilin' ham, 'sides all de fruits an'
jellies. De question now am, whar's it to go ? "
Gustus' eyes rolled tragically. " Dem goodies
sho' got to go."
" Hump," muttered Maggie. " Yo's sech a pig,
yo'd walk on yo'r hands, I reckon, 'fore yo'd see
any thin' good to eat left 'hind."
Finally the hamper was wedged in front, but
in consequence Gustus had to let his feet hang
over the side of the wagon.
" We'd better start before you try to load any-
thing more on," said Mr. Davenport, suiting the
action to his words.
At this instant Duke bounded around the cor-
ner of the house in pursuit of the wagon.
"Call him back, Beth," Mr. Davenport com-
*' Oh, papa, let him go to camp with you," she
begged, running down the road.
" But we decided to leave him home to protect
" "Watch will do as well. I tied him up in the
barn to make sure he wouldn't follow."
Mr. Davenport smiled over her artlessness.
"But you left Duke loose so he would follow.
Well, as you want him so much, he might as well
" Oh, goody, goody, goody," she cried, dancing
up and down on the pine needles. " Don't you
let him get lost, Gustus. It would break my
heart to lose him."
After this parting injunction, she went down
to see if Carol was ready, for it had been planned
that she should spend a few days at camp. Beth
found Carol unexpectedly downcast.
" The gal to look after 'Liz'beth hain't cum,"
she announced with a catch in her voice. "If
she don't cum soon, I'll have to stay hum."
" Oh, well, then you can come on the train
with mamma and Maggie."
Carol's gloom did not lighten. " But I wants
to go to-day. I could help a powerful sight."
She struggled to keep the tears back, but felt
so badly that she sobbed aloud. Beth was des-
perate. She had some things to attend to at the
house and had no time to comfort Carol, even if
she had known how.
" Please, please don't cry. I must go, and it
makes me unhappy to have you feel so badly."
"I'll try not to cry," promised Carol, strug-
gling harder than ever to swallow her sobs, and
hugging poor 'Liz'beth close in her arms.
" The girl may come. If she does, meet us at
the train," called back Beth as she started up the
Even at the house she thought continually about
Carol's disappointment. Finally when they went
296 A Maid of the Mountains
down to the train, she watched anxiously in hopes
that Carol might appear.
Impatient as Beth was to be at camp, she was
actually sorry to have the train on time, for no
Carol had come.
"It's a shame about Carol," she said, when
seated in the car beside Harvey, and a picture of
her friend in tears as she had left her, rose to her
mind. " I do hope she can come up to-morrow.
I don't wonder she feels badly. I'd have cried
my eyes out, too, if I'd been in her place."
Only for a moment, however, did Carol's dis-
appointment affect Beth's spirits. She was too
bubbling over Tvith the idea of camp life to be
long dispirited by anything.
" We're going camping," she confided to the
conductor when he came to collect their fare.
" We want to get off by the water tank at Mel-
rose. Will you surely let us know when we get
there ? "
He smiled at her eagerness. " Yes, indeed,"
By this time the engine was putting on extra
steam to puff laboriously up the steep mountain
Beth looked troubled. " It's an awful pull for
Rueur, and he may balk. Anyway some of the
things will spill out, and, if they don't, our cakes
and pies and things will all get jumbled to-
" I never knew you to be such a croaker," called
Marian from the seat ahead. " Do be quiet and
look at the scenery "
Beth did not know which side of the car to
choose. On either side were sheer ravines and
rugged rocks, while backward lay the peaceful
valley. Every tree and bush was clothed in most
luxuriant green besides which were many ex-
quisite wild flowers.
]N"ot for long did Beth enjoy the grandeur of
the scenery in quiet. From what her father had
said of the distance, she thought they should be
" Supposing they don't stop at the water tank
to-day ? " But at that moment she saw the con-
ductor coming, and ran eagerly to meet him.
" Is it time for us to get off ? "
Again he smiled over her evident excitement.
"We'll be at Melrose in a minute now. You'd
better be careful up here in the mountains," he
continued, as she skipped along by him toward
the door. " If I were in your place I'd never
leave camp without a pistol. I do hope you can
Her eyes grew very big. " Why do I need a
pistol ? "
He shook his head, while his face appeared very
solemn. " The mountains are full of wild beasts,
and there are robbers — awful bad ones — up here.
They'll be sure to capture such an adventurous
298 A Maid of the Mountains
girl as yourself. If there were time enough, I
could tell you yarns that would make your blood
curdle, and, as for that curly hair of yours, why
all the curl would come right out until it stood
straight on end."
Beth knew that he must be teasing her. Nev-
ertheless, she grew more and more round-eyed,
which incited the conductor to continue.
" Why, right near the spot where j^ou're going
to camp "
" He don't know where weVe to camp," Beth
" The wild chief of the robbers is now in hid-
ing. My, but you'll be scared if you come across
him. I daren't say what he would do to you.
One thing is certain, though, you'd better keep
out of his way. I myself would be terribly scared
to meet him."
The children alighted a short distance above
the water tank, where the conductor took his
leave of Beth with the parting injunction :
" JS'ow keep your eyes open. I'd hate mightily
to hear of any harm befalling you, but if the
chief of the robbers should capture you, don't tell
him I warned you against him, or he might hold
up my train in revenge."
"He was only fooling, wasn't he? It does
look pretty wild up here, though," said Beth, as
the train steamed on up the mountain. She gazed
at the woods on either side of them appreljensively
as if she feared the chief of the robbers raight be
lurking behind a tree at that very moment.
"I reckon he really meant what he said," an-
swered Harvey so seriously that both Beth and
Julia were half inclined to believe him, notwith-
standing his propensity to tease.
" I don't know about the wild animals," he con-
tinued, " but there are sure to be robbers bold up
in these wilds."
" Don't you believe him. You know how he
plagues us," put in Marian.
" Marian's scared, but don't be afraid, girls. I'll
protect you." i
They laughed good-naturedly over his lordly 1
manner, and walked on.
" Aren't these Eueur's tracks ? " cried Marian
at the road. " Yes, for here are Duke's, too."
" I can hardly wait to reach the falls. I'm the
only one who hasn't seen them," cried Beth, hur- ;
rying ahead of the others. !
''Ko use trying to leave us behind," called '
Harvey. " You'll not know where to turn unless |
we're with you." \
She settled down to the slower pace of her com- I
panions as she was losing breath anyway. The ;
road was not particularly steep, but she had done
no mountain climbing like the others. On either :
side were trees and bushes so dense that only \
once was there an opening for any extended
300 A Maid of the Mountains
" Hello ! " called Harvey, so unexpectedly that
Beth was startled.
" Hello," came in answer almost as an echo,
and then they heard Gustus say, " They're comin',
In a moment Duke bounded out from the
bushes to the right of them.
" Are we really there ? " demanded Beth, all
In answer, Harvey led the way through an
opening near where Duke had come out. Here
were Mr. Davenport and Gustus hard at work,
and with them was a mountaineer Mr. Davenport
had engaged to help lay the floor for the girls'
tent. Already it was half completed, and Gustus
had the wagon partly unloaded.
" Are you all ready for work ? " called Mr.
" Yes, only I'd like to see the falls first. They
must ^^ very near for they sound so loud," an-
" You'll never settle down until you'^ve seen
them, so I reckon I'll have to take you to them,
and then we'll pitch in and work hard," added
Harvey to reassure Mr. Davenport that they did
not mean to be idlers. -^
He started on tlie path toward the falls, and
then Beth skipped ahead of him. In a moment
she came to a stream bubbling down-hill over a
rocky bed, and then looked up to where she heard
the sound of falling water.
" Oh, oh, oh I " she cried, in rapture.
She had seen grander falls, but never any more
picturesque than these. There was no sheer de-
scent of water but it fell in foaming cascades
over ledges of rocks, while on either side of the
stream were trees and overhanging shrubs in
bloom that were mirrored wherever the water
had settled into quietness. Beth caught glimpses
of luxuriant ferns and wild flowers under this
"Are you satisfied now that youVe seen
them ? " asked Harvey, after waiting a moment
for her to speak.
" Satisfied ? " repeated Beth. " Well, I should
say so. I could stand here all day watching
" Stand here all day indeed," he interrupted.
" Well, you'll do nothing of the sort. We must
get to work right away."
" That's so," she assented, turning back with
less reluctance because of her great desire to help
toward the settlement of their camp.
" Harvey," said Mr. Davenport, as they re-
turned, " take that extra axe and help Gustus
chop down some young spruce trees for the beds."
" And what shall I do ? " asked Beth.
" You can help Marian and Julia in gathering
302 A Maid of the Mountains
wood. We need a lot both for a bonfire to-night
and for our coffee this noon."
Such work was play to the children, and time
sped so quickly that they were all surprised when
Mr. Davenport called :
" What time do you think it is, children ? "
" About eleven," answered Harvey.
" You're no true woodsman or vou'd know bet-
ter. Just look up at the sun and you'll see it's
" Well, the only way I'd have believed it is
because I'm so hungry," cried Beth.
" I'm ravenous myself," agreed her father.
" You girls spread out the lunch and we'll
make the coffee," he added, looking at the
Beth tore off the cover from the hamper. " It
don't look as if a thing was jumbled. Maggie
knows how to pack."
The table-cloth was spread on the ground as
there had been no time to build a table as planned
— that was to be part of the afternoon's labor,
and then the supplies from the hamper were
placed thereon in extravagant abundance.
The smoke from the fire curled upward and
soon the fragrant aroma of coffee announced that
their midday meal was ready. Whereupon they
all clustered around the feast down on the sweet
smelling pine needles.
Beth heaved a sigh of deep content. " It's so
lovely to be here that it almost seems like a
" This chicken is betteh than any dream I
ebber knowed," announced Gustus, who with the
mountaineer had been given a helping by them-
Kever had a meal tasted better to any of them
than the one that noon.
" What would Maggie say if she saw how weVe
made things disappear ? " cried Marian, as she
"She'd immediately go to work and bake a
lot more goodies to bring up with them to-mor-
row," answered Beth.
Their afternoon's work proved very satisfac-
tory, and the beds of spruce especially pleased
" I can hardly wait for night. They're the
grandest things to sleep on imaginable," she de-
" We are pretty fine, I think," agreed Harvey,
who had just returned with some milk he had
succeeded in getting down near the railroad track.
" Fine," sniffed Beth. " Why we're grand. I
wouldn't change this lovely camp for a palace."
Supper was served on the table that had been
fixed during the afternoon and all enjoyed the
" Now for our bonfire," cried Harvey, as they
arose from the ground.
304 A Maid of the Mountains
A few moments afterward the flames shot up-
ward, and around the blaze the little party gath-
ered glad of its cheer. All were tired and clouds
were gathering which was somewhat dispirit-
'' It looks very much like rain. That's the
worst of camp life," said Mr. Davenport, who
had been fearful of the clouds for some time.
" Well, if it does rain, we'll go to bed, and the
sun will surely be shining in the morning," Beth
predicted, with her usual optimism.
She had expected to enjoy this part of the day
the most, but on the first night of camp life, she
found she was too tired and sleepy to care even
for stories. Other nights they could roast things
and have a merry time, but now, she thought,
bed would be nicer than any jollification. IN'ever-
theless she tried not to show how she felt.
Gustus, on his part, did not stifle his yawns in
the least. As he sat before the fire his head
nodded every once in a while, and then he would
come to himself with a great start.
" Gustus, you make me sleepy," cried Marian as
he stretched his arms above his head yawning
more loudly than ever.
"I — I — a — w — shurely can't help it. Miss
Marian. I nebber wuz so sleepy."
« We're all sleepy," said Mr. Davenport. " We
were up so early, and then we've worked pretty
hard. What do you say to turning in for the
night and then we can get an early start in the
morning ? "
As he spoke some one felt a drop of rain, and
that settled the matter. Into the tents they went,
which was a wise move, for soon the drops fell
faster and settled into a fine " growing rain," as
Mr. Davenport called it.
" It's a 'sperience," said Beth as she undressed.
" Well I'm mighty glad it's not a wild down-
pour like we had on the night we were lost," an-
Later when Beth had snuggled down in a par-
ticularly comfortable spot, she said, " It's lovely
to lie here so warm and snug and listen to the
rain. And the roar of the falls makes me "
*' Oh, do be quiet, Beth ; I want to sleep," cried
Marian. Julia's fair head was far down in the
pillow, and her regular breathing showed that she
was already asleep.
Beth had suddenly grown very wide awake.
Over and over in her mind recurred all that they
had done during the day, and then she thought
over all that she would like to do on the morrow.
She did not mind being wakeful. It was lovely
just to know that she was up on a great mountain
in the woods with beautiful falls roaring, roaring,
so very near, and the drip, drip of the rain was
nice too, even if the girls would not agree with
her in this.
But soon the poetry of the situation was spoiled
3o6 A Maid of the Mountains
for Beth by the rising wind. It made her think
of the robbers the conductor told her about.
Suppose they were somewhere near, particularly
that awful chief. She wouldn't like him to ap-
pear at their camp especially when she was the
only one awake. She'd like to call across to the
other tent to know if they were sleeping there,
only it would make them cross to be awakened,
and she felt very sure they were sleeping after
their hard work.
Another gust of wind made her draw the bed-
clothes up over her head and thus she lay slightly
trembling. Suddenly she remembered Duke
chained over in the *' storeroom " where the pro-
" If I only had Duke here, I wouldn't be a mite
afraid," she thought. " Why didn't I let him
sleep at the foot of my bed ? I believe I'll get
him even now."
IN'o sooner had the idea entered her mind than
she arose, and, slipping a blanket around her,
started on her mission barefooted.
Outside she found that the rain had increased.
The darkness, too, was intense. She almost re-
pented her undertaking, but after having started
would not give up. She made a dash over in the
direction where she knew Duke was tied. Sud-
denly a sound made her stop under a tree and
lean up against the trunk weak with fright. Her
heart beat so wildlv that it almost suffocated her.
Unmistakably some one was coming near in the
The bonfire had been beaten out by the rain.
Kot a star was visible to give a ray of light. In
her fright, Beth knew the intruder must be one
of the robbers the conductor had told about. She
would have sneaked back to her father's tent to
waken him if she had not feared running into a
robber. In the darkness she could not distinguish
a single object, and it was possible that there
might be more than one robber around.
" I'm a goose," she told herself trying to be
calm. " Probably it's papa or Harvey or "
All at once Duke barked, and Beth was sure
that it was none of their party. A stranger alone
could thus excite him. She hoped his barking
would rouse the others, and that they would
come before the robber murdered her.
Rain-drops were leaking through the tree down
on her but getting wet was the least of her
troubles. She wanted to scream, but her throat
was parched, and she stood rooted to the spot in
Notwithstanding the dog's barking, the foot-
steps came nearer and nearer, and Duke grew
more and more excited.
" Hush, hush," Beth heard some one mutter.
The tones were not as fierce as a robber should
use, Beth thought, but probably they were trying
to be mild to pacify the dog.
3o8 A Maid of the Mountains
" It didn't sound like a man at all, but then
robbers are very deceiving," she decided. Then
to her great surprise Duke quieted down in an
" He's fooled too," she thought, disappointed
not to have him show his usual sagacity. In fact
so disappointed was she that it restored her own
*' Sic 'em, Duke. Go for them," she yelled.
The same instant a melancholy cry right above
her made her sink almost to the ground.
" Oo — 00 — oo," came the ghastly call the
second time, and Beth was so overcome with ter-
ror at the sound that she fled unmindful of what
she encountered only so that she could get away
from that weird voice. On she ran stumblingly,
and the first thing she knew she and some one
else had run into one another.
" Oh," almost sobbed Beth.
" Beth, Beth Davenport, hit's only me."
Beth did not see how Carol could be up in the
mountains although it was unmistakably her
" You're — you're sure it's you ? " she mur-
" Yes, yes, hit's me — Carol. What's the mat-
ter ? "
Assured that it really was Carol, Beth clung
to her almost as if she feared she grasped a spirit
that might vanish.
" Did — you — hear — that awful sound up in the
tree ? There it is again. What is it, Carol ? "
" That ? " answered Carol reassuringly. " Don't
yer know a hoot owl when yer hear one ? "
Beth was thoroughly ashamed of her ground-
" I'd have known if I hadn't been so fright-
ened thinking that you were a robber, Carol."
*' I wuz frightened 'bout yer," confessed Carol.
"I 'lowed that per'aps I'd gotten to the wrong
camp 'til I hearn Duke bark. An' when yer
sicked him on, I couldn't b'lieve hit could be yer,
but feared hit moight be a sperrit, an' that's why
I didn't call out."
" Come inside the tent," said Beth, beginning
to feel wet, and willing now that she had hu-
man companionship to forego Duke's presence.
"What's the matter? Who's there?" cried
Marian, sitting up in bed as the two girls entered.
" Carol's come."
*' Carol ? That's nice."
By Marian's tones, and the way she sank back
on the pillow, Beth knew she was only half
awake. Julia did not even stir. Beth wondered
why her call to Duke had not roused any one in
the other tent, but their being so tired, probably
accounted for it.
" How did you get here at this time of the
night?" Beth whispered, her curiosity increasing
the more she thought about the matter.
310 A Maid of the Mountains
" I walked," quietly replied the mountain girl.
" Walked ? " repeated Beth, more and more
astonished. " Not in the dark and rain ? " It
seemed incredible to Beth.
Carol was shivering both with cold and ex-
citement. " Thar war no other way to cum, an'
so I jes' had to. I was sot to get here to-day, if
hit war possible. The gal didn't cum to mind
'Liz'beth 'til powerful late."
How any one, especially a mere girl like her-
self, dared make a trip alone after nightfall, up a,
mountain that might be robber infested, was
more than Beth could understand. She was
most anxious to hear every detail of the romantic
journey, but her consideration of others made her
check her curiosity.
" You must be tired and wet," she said, half
hoping she might be contradicted.
" My clothes be pretty well soaked," agreed
" You must get right undressed then. There's
a place here beside me for you to sleep. Then
you can tell me all that happened."
" I lost my bundle — thar warn't much in hit as
I didn't want to tote much — jes' some night
things. But when 1 was powerful scared, I
dropped hit an' scooted."
This aroused Beth's interest more than ever,
but she held herself well in check. She fumbled
around in the dark until she felt her hamper.
^' Here's a night-dress of mine. Jump into it as
fast as ever you can, for I'm just dying to know
what scared you."
" Whar shall I hang my clothes ? "
^' We have a line up at the other end of the
tent, but don't stop to find it. Drop them on
the floor anywhere."
Bed was so inviting, and Beth was evidently
so anxious to have her beside her that Carol did
as told, and in a moment more, was snuggling
down under the most comfortable blanket, be-
neath which it had never been her lot to sleep.
" l!^ow, Carol, tell me what scared you. Begin
from the first."
Still Carol hesitated.
" Do go on," Beth whispered.
" Well, even after hit grew dark I never onct
thought of bein' scared. I'm used to goin' 'round
by myself, an' I played I was a bird an' sang an'
sang. I couldn't fly like a bird, but hit didn't
seem half so far by pretendin' 'though hit war
" Well I should say so," assented Beth. " I
stubbed my own toes before I ran into you. I
don't see how you dared come up alone."
"I wanted to cum so powerful much that's
why. And not 'til I got up by the railroad track
below here, did I have anythin' to really an'
truly scare me. Then I got right in 'mong some
men 'fore I knowed any was thar. The rain had
312 A Maid of the Mountains
most beaten out their fire an' most had gone in
the tent — they have a camp thar, an' I reckon
they'd all been drinkin' an' some had drunk too
much to know 'nough to get out of the rain.
An' I ran right into one of 'em, an' he tried to
grab me, but I jes' took to my heels an' scooted."
" And was it then that you dropped your
bundle ? "
" JSTo, not 'til I hearn some one chasin' me. I
dodged into the bushes an' I wuz that scared
that I dropped my bundle, an' wouldn't stop to
" Did they catch you ? "
" No, hit wuz so dark the man couldn't keep
track of me, but I saw him agin."
" You did ? My, you must have been terribly
frightened. How did it happen ? "
"I — I," stammered Carol, dreading to tell
more, but seeing no way of evading Beth's ques-
tioning. " I 'most stumbled over him when I
cum out from the bushes. For a moment, I
'lowed that he wuz dead, but I found that he war
Beth marveled more and more over Carol's
" Carol, what "
"Beth, stop talking or I'll have papa make
you," threatened Marian, who had been restless
for a few minutes past.
" All right, Marian. Good-night, Carol,"
" Good-night," murmured the mountain girl,
but sleep would not come to relieve her mind.
" I'm moighty glad I didn't have to tell her,"
she thought, stifling her sobs. " I'd hate dreadful
fer her to know. Supposin' I'd have had to say
to her, ' The drunken man was my ' " the last
word was smothered by her tears.
Even when sleep finally came, it brought little
rest to her mind. She dreamed that the man in
the road had followed her to camp. She even
thought she heard Duke barking, but that did
not drive the man away. Then Carol cried out
in her sleep :
'' Go 'way. Don't come here an' make me
wish myself dead."
So piercing was her cry that it not only
wakened the girls, but Mr. Davenport and
Harvey wakened also.
"What's the matter?" called Mr. Daven-
Carol rubbed her eyes to make sure that she
was only dreaming.
"I — I reckon I had the nio^htmare 'thouo^h I
did think Duke really barked," she answered.
Mr. Davenport said no word to the girls, but
he, too, thought Duke had barked, and that some
one was moving near the tents. In fact to
reassure himself that no intruder was about,
he got up and looked outside. The storm
was over and a full sized moon was shining clear.
3H ^ Maid of the Mountains
Perfect quiet now reigned, and Mr. Davenport
decided that his hearty supper had given him
bad dreams, and that a search would not only be
useless, but foolish.
" Everything's all right," he called across to
the girls. ^' So go to sleep as I'm going to do."
Afterward Carol was troubled with no more
dreams, although in fact her nightmare had more
foundation than any of them thought. Still
the camp slept on undisturbed until morning.
Duke is Missing
" Girls, the coffee's steaming, and we have
breakfast all ready. You must hurry if you're
going to eat with us." These were the first
words thac greeted Beth in the morning.
She turned and saw Carol sitting up in bed.
'' I'd have been up an age an' gotten breakfast
fer you uns, but my clothes ain't whar I left 'em.
They're gone sure."
'' Gone ? " repeated Beth, rubbing her eyes.
" Yes. Yer know I left 'em on the floor like
yer said, an' yer kin see they hain't thar now."
Only for a moment was Beth troubled. To
Carol's surprise, she smiled. It came to her
that Harvey was playing a joke on them. She
sprang out of bed and rushed to the opening of
" Harvey, Harvey ! " she called, " we want to
get up, so please bring back Carol's clothes ! "
" Hello. You're awake, are you ? " he an-
^'JSTow Harvey, do bring Carol's clothes right
" Carol's clothes," he repeated. " What are
you talking about ? "
318 A Maid of the Mountains
" Now, Harvey, stop fooling, and bring them
back. We must get dressed."
" I don't know anything about her clothes."
He spoke so decidedly that Beth believed him,
but she still thought there must be some trick
about the clothes being gone. She hardly be-
lieved her father would indulge in such a joke,
but did not know what effect camp life might
have on him so she called :
" Papa, do you know where Carol's clothes
are ? "
Keassured that he knew nothing about them,
Beth accused Gustus of being the mischief-maker
which he emphatically denied.
" They can't be gone," declared Beth to Carol.
" Where did you put them ?
"You must be mistaken," she added when
Carol pointed to the floor near the edge of the
tent. " Maybe you put them on the bed and
they've fallen underneath." But, search as she
did, the missing articles were nowhere to be
The other girls looked to see if any of their be-
longings were gone, but not a single article was
missing except the clothing of Carol.
" They must have reached in an' jes' grabbed
my things, an' maybe they were scared 'way
when I cried out," said Carol.
" It's a perfect shame, Carol," Beth said when
she had to admit that the clothes had been stolen.
Duke is Missing 319
"If anything had to be taken, it should have
been some of our things instead of yours. You're
our visitor, you know, and I was to blame for
telling you to drop them on the floor."
" Yer didn't know," answered Carol, dispirit-
edly. She was greatly depressed, but it was
caused more by a fear that had entered her mind
than by the loss she had sustained. Not for the
world would she voice her fear, and she tried not
to think of it even.
" What can Carol wear ? " demanded Julia.
" She can wear some of my things," answered
Beth. " They'll be a little large, but it'll be bet-
ter than staying in bed."
All of Beth's clothes proved vastly too large
for Carol, nevertheless she arrayed herself in
them without a murmur.
" You are a sight," said Beth, laughingly.
Carol felt the tears which she had been trying
to choke down for some time rising, but Beth's
thoughtless raillery made her lose control for a
" Why, Carol, don't you know I'm only jok-
ing ? " Beth whispered contritely, not wishing the
girls to see Carol in tears.
Carol stifled her sobs. " I — I know hit an' hit
— it ain't what yer said. No "
" Girls, you must hurry," called Mr. Daven-
port. " Breakfast is all on the table, and Harvey
and 1 can't wait another moment."
320 A Maid of the Mountains
^' I — I don't like to have 'em see me," said
Carol still with a catch in her voice.
" Don't you mind, Carol. I'll go out and
make it all right, and then you come when I
Marion and Julia had gone out and now Beth
skipped out leaving Carol alone. She sank down
on the edge of the bed covering her face with
" She thinks hit's the clothes I mind," she
moaned to herself. " But hit's worse to 'low as
how yer own paw is "
" Come on, Carol," Beth called joyously.
" They say they'll be glad to see you, no matter
what you wear."
Carol rose and brushed the tears away, and
started out obediently. She slipped into the va-
cant place at the table reserved for her, and
Gustus, alone, outwardly noted her queer appear-
ance. He was waiting on table and started to
giggle, but a shake of the head from Beth turned
the giggle into a cough.
" He, he — ho — I — I must done taken cole las'
night," he muttered.
" Well, Carol, we're sorry, very sorry, that
your visit has started so badly, but we'll make up
your loss to you, and j^ou must enjoy yourself
immensely all the rest of the time you are with
us," said Mr. Davenport kindly, as he passed a
heaping plate her way.
Duke is Missing 321
" Papa, who do you suppose took the things ? "
Carol choked over the mouthful she had just
taken, and her heart beat convulsively.
" Some sneak thief most probably."
The color came back to Carol's face, but she
had little appetite for her breakfast.
" I wish we could all go down to the train to
meet mamma and Maggie, but I suppose some-
body should watch camp especially after the rob-
bery," said Beth. " I'd trust Duke to watch
only being strange here he might run away."
" Let me stay with him," answered Carol. " I
wouldn't like to go down this way. Do let me
stay with him."
" Are you sure you don't mind, Carol ? "
" ]^o, I wants ter stav."
" Then the rest of us can all go. It'll be great
fun for us all to escort them up here, and you'll
not be long alone, Carol."
Carol assisted Gustus with the dishes, and then
helped the girls with the beds, after which it
^vas time to go to the train.
" Take good care of Duke. I wouldn't have
him run away for the world," was Beth's parting
Immediately after they were gone, Carol be-
gan busying herself in preparing things for the
noonday meal. First she fixed the table, and
then she took a pan of potatoes and with Duke
322 A Maid of the Mountains
beside her, sat down on a log to peel them. She
was not in the least lonely for her mind and
hands were both busy.
" Duke," she said, stopping a moment to pat his
head, "yer mistress is powerful good to us both,
an' we uns must do all we kin fer her. That's
why I'm workin' now, so's she'll be pleased when
they git back, fer then we'll all have time to visit,
an' I have somethin' I must tell her. I don't
know what to do. I want ter 'mount ter some-
thin' so's she'll be proud that she helped we uns,
but I'd hate awful to leave her."
Carol went back to peeling potatoes, while in
her eyes there came a far-off look for she was go-
ing over in her mind the visit Mrs. Morton had
made her the afternoon before, and all that had
been said. She had gone with Mrs. Morton down
to the spring and there they had sat upon the
very log where Beth had rested the day of her
first memorable visit.
'* Carol, my husband has telegraphed for me to
come home because he finds it impossible to join
me here as we had planned," began Mrs. Mor-
" I'm powerful sorry to have yer go. Yer've
been so good to me," murmured Carol. " I'll
hate never to see yer again, but perhaps yer'll be
comin' down this way agin."
" That's very probable, Carol, but I want to
take you North with me now."
Duke is Missing 323
" Take me North ? " gasped Carol, not believing
" After I heard you sing, I decided your voice
ought to be cultivated," continued Mrs. Morton.
" Then when word came from my husband, I
hurried right down here to ask you to go back
with me. We live out in the country, but near
the city, so that you could go in town for lessons,
and I could help you, for I used to be quite
" An' what could I ever do to pay yer back ? "
Mrs. Morton looked at her very kindly, liking
her more because her first thought was of grati-
tude. " There'll be many, many ways in which
you can repay me, Carol. In the first place,
your singing of itself will be a comfort to me,
for I have little ambition to keep up my own
playing, but with you there it will be different.
Since my baby died " — she had to pause a mo-
ment before going on, *' I never go any place,
and my husband and I are lonely. He'll like to
have you, I know. Your fondness for dogs will
appeal to him, and then he'll be glad to have me
take an interest in music again. He'll approve,
I am sure. It is partly for his sake that I am
asking you to go. Will you go ? "
" How could I leave 'Liz'beth ? "
Aofain Mrs. Morton liked her better for her
unselfish thought. " I am a rich woman, Carol,
that is, as far as money goes," she added. " My
324 A Maid of the Mountains
father left me all he had, as my mother died
before he did, and I had no brothers or sisters.
Then my husband has more than enough for
both of us, and, as you know, I have no children
Carol's heart went out more and more to her
as she spoke. She realized more than ever what
Mrs. Morton's loss had been to her, but she could
think of no words of comfort.
" So," continued Mrs. Morton, after a moment,
" I can well afford to pay your mother for letting
me take you North with me, so that she can
hire some one to take your place."
" Hit don't seem as if we'd be doin' much fer
you alls in exchange."
Again Mrs. Morton smiled. "Do not worry
over that part. Besides what I've told you that
you are to do, I shall expect you to help in many
ways about my house. I want you to try it for
this coming winter, anyway, and then if my plan
does not work — well, I'll send 3^ou back home.
I^either of us will be worse off for the experi-
ence, I think. Will you go ? "
Carol looked wistful. " Hit's not that I hain't
thankful, but I'd like to talk hit — it ov^r ^vith
Beth Davenport first."
" You must decide at once, for I will have to
start home dav after to-morrow ; " but when she
saw the blank look on Carol's face, she added,
"or the day after that at the very latest."
Duke is Missing 325
"I couldn't go without seeing Beth Daven-
port," Carol cried. " But I'll go up to camp, an'
if she says to go, I'll cum back to-morrow, an' go
Mrs. Morton was well satisfied with the ar-
rangement, for she felt very sure of the advice
Beth would give, so she went into the hut and
made all necessary arrangements with Carol's
And now as Carol sat on the log peeling
potatoes she, herself, knew, although not a word
had been said to Beth, that she was having her
parting visit with Beth, unless one thing pre-
" I'll have to tell Mrs. Morton 'bout las' night,"
Carol thought. " An' maybe she'll not want me
then. Hit — it wouldn't be honorable not to tell.
Maybe she'll think me a thief, too," and tears
started afresh down Carol's pale cheeks.
A sudden growl from Dake made her start
and look around. Standing not far from her
was a man with his back toward her. She
jumped to her feet and the dish of potatoes fell
to the ground while some of them rolled out on
the dirt, but Carol was unmindful of this.
" Paw," she cried shrilly, " what yer doin'
here ? "
" Hello, Carol, I met the folks down below an'
they tole me yer were here alone," he answered
326 A Maid of the Mountains
She hardly knew whether to believe him. She
feared he might have come with some evil intent
— not to her, but to the camp.
" Oh, paw ! " she cried, breaking into tears,
"only go 'way an' I'll never tell."
" What yer talkin* 'bout, Carol ? " he demanded,
seemingly both puzzled and angry.
" Yer know, paw. I mean 'bout yer bein' here
He eyed her suspiciously. " I warn't near here
last night — no sech thing."
" Paw, I wouldn't have believed hit myself if
I hadn't knowed that hit war yer drunk by yer
words when I stumbled over yer in the dark,"
she responded solemnly.
He looked at her sullenly but made no answer.
*^ Paw, do yer deny that yer war down below
drunk las' night ? " she demanded after a moment
more of painful silence.
Still he made no reply, but he hung his head,
.which w^as suflBcient acknowledgment to Carol,
who had expected no denial, for she thought her
father a truthful man when sober.
" Paw, war hit 'cause yer war drunk that yer
cum here an' st " she could not bring herself
to say stole although the taking of her clothes was
a theft. So she substituted, " took my clothes ? "
Now he looked her full in the face. " Took
yer clothes ? " he repeated. " I don't know what
Duke is Missing 327
She gazed at him intently to judge him by his
expression as well as by his words, and the
puzzled look on his face made her hopeful.
" Jes' after I met yer on the road las' night
some one cum here an' stole my clothes from the
tent thar an' I feared hit war yer. Didn't yer do
hit, paw ? Didn't yer do hit ? " she demanded,
Surging red blood arose in his face, but still his
eye did not waver before hers. " I know I've
sunk low, Carol, but not that low, an' hit's ter'ble
that my own chile thinks that mean of me. I
see that yer think me a thief."
The accusing look on her face gave way to
joy. She was so glad that she was almost hys-
terical. "I don't think hit now, paw. I don't
think hit now, an' a powerful bad feelin's gone
from here," she cried, placing her hand over her
" An' yer clothes war really took ? " he ques-
tioned. And when she nodded her head, he con-
tinued, " Some of them men down thar took
um then, Carol. They're a pretty bad lot, an'
even while I wuz drinkin' with um las' night I
wanted to get 'way from um. An' when yer ran
into me an' I knowed yer even though hit war
dark, I had a feelin' yer moight save me from um
an' so when yer run from me that's why I run
after yer. Why did yer run from me, Carol ? " j4^>-
Now it was her turn to hang her head. " At-*^
328 A Maid of the Mountains
firs' I didn't know yer an' war scared, an' then,
an' then " she faltered.
" An' then yer knowed me an' war more
scared," and she could not deny his statement.
Whereupon he turned to Duke and began patting
his head as if seeking comfort from the dog.
Duke did not repel his advances, but seemed to
" Is this the animal that's worth so much,
Carol ? "
She nodded at him through her tears.
" I'd like the money yer'd bring moightily,"
muttered Samuel Cornwell, and added, " I cum
here, Carol, to bid yer good-bye. Yer'll not see
me fer a long time, an' maybe never, 'less I do
*' Ye're goin' 'way, paw ! " she cried, remorse-
" Yes, so good-bye, Carol."
" Yer^ll go an' say good-bye to maw," she
He shook his head stubbornly. " 'Tain't best,
an' I won't do hit."
'' Paw "
" I'll not listen to no more," and away he
started toward the road.
Carol was half minded to follow, but, from past
experience, she knew that pleading was of no
avail, and so instead she turned and walked down
the path toward the falls, forgetting in her ex-
Duke is Missing 329
citement that Duke had been left to her charge.
At first, he was inclined to go with her but when
he saw that she took no notice of him, he turned
and without her heeding his action in the least
started down the road after Samuel Cornwell.
The man, unheeding the dog, soon turned from
the main road into a path through the woods
that was a shorter cut down the mountain and
Duke followed stealthily in the path after
Meantime, Carol at the falls seated herself on a
rock a short distance below them.
" I'm so glad he didn't take the things," she
kept thinking over and over to herself.
*' Thar's nothin' to keep me now from goin',"
she added presently. " I'll have to walk down
home this afternoon, but that'll be nothin'.
Hit's sayin' good-bye to Beth Davenport I mind.
I love Mrs. Morton, but not like I love Beth
Davenport, an' bein' with Mrs. Morton won't be
like bein' with Beth though Mrs. Morton's
powerful good to me, an' when I'm up North
with her, I'll do everythin' I kin fer her."
Then she began speculating as to what her
home in the IS'orth would be like, and she knew
vaguely that she would miss the mountains, for
Mrs. Morton had told her the country around her
home was mostly flat except for a few hills.
But it was of the singing lessons that she had
been promised that she thought the most.
330 A Maid of the Mountains
Hardly did it seem credible that she, Carol, was
to have her voice cultivated.
Suddenly she remembered that it must be fully
time for the campers to be returning from the
train. She knew by the sun that it was growing
late. She arose hastily and hurried back to the
tents, where she first missed Duke.
" Duke, Duke ! Come, Duke ! " she called, wildly,
but no dog came bounding at the call. Over and
over she cried his name, even more frantically,
but without response. Whereupon she broke
down crying helplessly.
Suddenly it came to her that perhaps he had
only wandered down to meet Beth. Hastily she
ran out to the road and started down-hill to see.
In a moment, even before she could see any of
them because of the turn in the road, she heard
their voices. Carol felt as if she was suffocating.
She hurriedly rushed behind some bushes at the
side of the road that would perfectly screen her
from their sight.
" I can't see her if Duke's not with her. I
can't do hit," she sobbed to herself. " I'd never
dare see her agin if he's gone."
As they drew near so fearful was Carol that
she hardly dared peek out, but at last, holding her
breath for fear of being detected, she looked.
Duke was not with them.
Too overcome for tears, as they passed, she
sank down on the ground where she was hiding
Duke is Missing 331
and an utterly hopeless look settled on her face.
Her father's words kept ringing in her ears.
" Is this the animal that's worth so much,
Carol ? " And then right afterward, " I'd like
the money yer'd bring moightily."
*' He's a thief after all. He's stolen the dog,
and Beth Davenport '11 hate me ever an' ever,"
muttered Carol fiercely.
Her next impulse was to fly, as if she herself
were the thief who might be pursued. Assuring
herself that the campers were beyond sight, she
stole out on the road and fled panting down to-
ward the railroad. On and on she sped, neither
saving of her breath nor strength. Unreasoning
fear drove her on.
At the railroad she paused uncertain which
way to turn, and now her reasoning power re-
" If I but knowed which way paw went, I
moight overtake him an' get Duke back. He's a
big start of me, but I'd run 'til I dropped, but I
can't tell which way to go. Oh, God ! show me
how to go," she prayed.
"While she stood undecided which course to
pursue, the thought flashed into her mind, '' If I
go to the camp whar he was las' night, I may
find him thar."
So she hastened to the camp, which she had
no trouble in locating, as it was only across the
track by the roadside.
332 A Maid of the Mountains
No one, seemingly, was around the place, but
the flaps of the tent were tied back, which
allowed Carol to peek within.
The first object her eye beheld was her stolen
bundle of clothes on the floor. So surprised was
she at this discovery that she did not see a man
partly hidden under a blanket over in the far-
thest corner of the tent, but he was not sleeping,
and happened to have his face her way.
" What yer doin' here ? " he demanded gruffly,
Carol was so startled and frightened that she
simply stood still, gazing helplessly at the dark
tousled head with its sinister face.
" What yer up to, I say ? " he again demanded.
"I — I'm huntin' my paw," she finally stam-
" Who be yer paw ? "
" Sara'el Cornwell. Have yer seen him ? "
" No, he hain't been back here since las' night."
In one way the answer was a relief to Carol,
for if her father had not been near the place, he
could not have left the bundle there. But to
make more positive, she asked timidly :
" He — he didn't leave any thin' here, did he ?
Whose bundle is that ? "
The man scowled at her suspiciously. " Who
sent yer 'round here axin' questions ? "
" No one. I'm jes' huntin' my paw."
The answer quieted the man's suspicions, for
Duke is Missing 333
he saw by her looks that Carol was unmistakably
Cornwell's daughter, as she said.
"That bundle's mine. Some friends up on the
mountain want me to keep hit fer um, but they
fooled me into thinkin' hit moight be worth
somethin', but hit ain't," he explained. " Don't
bother me no more. I wanter sleep," he added,
Carol did not dare claim her belongings, for
the man looked so evil that she did not know
what he might do to her. To have proof posi-
tive that her father did not steal the bundle,
made her so thankful that in her present state of
mind, it made little difference if she never got
her clothes back.
Whichever way she decided to take, she knew
the railroad track was a more direct line than
any road, therefore hurried back that way.
" I'll go toward home," she decided, " an' if I
can't get Duke back, I'll go 'way with Mrs.
Morton, so 's Beth'll 'low that's why I ran
Around a curve, down the track, she flew,
when suddenly just ahead of her were two men
working over a hand-car.
" Maybe they'll 'low me to ride with um," she
thought, and then she noted that they both wore
" What kin I do ? " she wondered, with her
heart thumping wildly. " If I go on, they may
334 ^ ilifatc/ of the Mountains
do somethin' to me, but if I doa't go on, I'll
never get Duke back."
She was greatly inclined to hide in the woods
at her right, and even started that way, until she
saw one of the convicts looking at her.
" Have yer seen anythin' of a man with a
dog ? " she faltered.
" No," he answered, and added to his com-
panion, " Thar, Bill, I reckon as how hit may hold
'til we get down the mountain," and on the car
Quickly Carol decided on heroic measures.
" Wait ! " she cried, running to them.
"They don't look as bad as the man in the
tent," she thought. " If they didn't wear stripes,
thar'd be nothin' to fear, an' I jes' must trust um
" Can't I ride with yer ? " she begged. " Please,
please let me ride. I'm in a ter'ble hurry," she
Doubtfully, they eyed her, and she thought
they were escaping from justice, and feared her
" I — I won't tell," she murmured.
Her words were unmeaning to them, and one
of the convicts said :
" The brake's out of order, an' hit moight go
wrong agin, an' then no tellin' what'd happen."
" I'm not skeered, an' if yer'll only let me ride,
I'll not blame yer if I'm hurt."
Duke is Missing 335
" All right then. Hop on, an' hole on tight.
In a few minutes, we'll be comin' to the stitfest
In an instant she was up beside them and away
they started. Then it came to Carol that if she
did not see her father on the way that she should
get off at Tremont, but her convict companions
might object to her so doing.
" Will yer be skeered to let me off at Tre-
mont ? " This question formed in her mind, but
she was too fearful of their displeasure to say it
aloud. Over and over she tried to think of some
better way of putting it to them.
" We're only goin' as far as Tremont," an-
nounced one of the convicts, greatly to her
" They're not runnin' 'way then," she thought.
Now she remembered that a few of the best con-
victs were sometimes sent on errands. Up in the
mountains she had seen convicts working the
roads, and knew that those that were about to be
released were trusted.
By this time, the car was beginning to fly down
grade. Peering ahead, Carol saw that an exciting
ride lay before her. The road-bed wound along
the side of the mountain and sometimes there
was a wall of rock to the right, while to the left
was a sheer descent into the valley below.
Again the way had been cut through solid rock,
and they flew faster and faster every second.
33^ -A Maid of the Mountains
"Put the brake on, Bill. Is hit goin* to
hor ? "
" Yes," but, even as the answer came, the brake
again refused to hold.
" Hit won't work. I can't nohow make hit
work," cried Bill, in terror. " I'll jes' have to let
" An' goin' may land us in hell. Hoi' on, gal,
fer yer life ! "
No such warning was needed by Carol. She
was holding on with all her might. Notwith-
standing they were going so fast that it took her
breath away, she was not particularly frightened.
Being so wrought up over the loss of Duke, made
her unmindful of what became of her.
" Maybe if Beth Davenport sees me dead, she'll
fergive me," she thought.
Yet to be dashed to pieces down among those
immense rocks seemed so horrible that she was
almost tempted to jump.
" Hoi' on ! " cried the convict again, perhaps
reading her thought.
The trees on either side now seemed like mere
shadows, and the landscape was all one blotted
mass at the speed they were flying.
" If hit don't jump the track, we'll come out
all right. The way's clear so's we won't run into
anythin'," cried Bill.
That instant they rounded a curve which re-
vealed in the path just ahead a man, while beside
Duke is Missing 337
him trudged a dog, both unconscious of the
Now for the first time Carol turned deathly
" Paw, oh, paw ! " she yelled.
Duke bounded from the track, barking as he
did so. Fortunately, Samuel Corn well heeded
the warning. Without looking backward he
sprang after the dog just as the hand-car grazed
"Weak from what had just happened Carol's
hold relaxed. Dangerously near the edge of the
car she swayed, but, just in time to save her from
falling over into the ravine, the convict caught
" What yer doin' ? Hole on thar," he com-
Mechanically, she obeyed. Slowly an intense
desire to live possessed her mind. How terrible
she felt it would be not to live ; not to go back
for Duke. More and more with the wish for
life, she realized the danger of the situation.
Then suddenly a new peril confronted them.
" My God, ain't that a train comin' ? " yelled
Around the curve, just below the down flying
hand-car, a freight train, side-tracked many hours
because of a hot-box, was now slowly puffing.
" We'll be smashed dead. Thar ain't no hope
338 A Maid of the Mountains
But Bill, undaunted in the face of death, began
frantically fumbling again at the brake although
still fearing there was no possibility of making it
The engineer of the freight, shuddering at
sight of the hand-car, had the presence of mind
to reverse his engine.
Samuel Cornwell, still somewhat dazed from
his own narrow escape, was horrified by the
tragedy threatening his child.
" Oh, God ! I've been a poor father, an' I don't
know as I ever can be a good un, but spare Carol,
an' I'll try," he prayed which was the first prayer
he had uttered for years. His child's peril made
many, many bitter regrets surge through his
mind strengthening him in his resolve to atone
for the past if he could.
Strange to say, as Carol faced death, bitter ac-
cusations against her father lessened. Her mind
even dwelt on him pityingly.
" If hit hadn't been f er licker, he'd 'ave been a
good paw," she thought, while a picture of her-
self as a little child on her father's lap flashed
into her mind. She had loved him dearly then.
" If he hadn't stole Duke, I'd love him still,"
she sobbed to herself. "He didn't know how
wicked hit wuz. Maybe hit'll cum to him that
hit wuz wrong, an' he'll take Duke back even if
I don't live to ask hit. Anyway, I can't die not
fergivin' my paw. God make him do right."
Duke is Missing 339
Tears blinded her sight, but she believed that
any instant might be her last.
'^ God bless "Liz'beth an' Beth Davenport an'
Mrs. Morton, an' all the rest," she prayed as an
earthly parting from her best beloved.
"Hit's workin' agin. The brake's sho'ly
workin'," cried Bill.
Hastily Carol brushed the tears away, and saw
that slowly but surely their awful speed was
lessening. The reprieve from death seemed too
good to be true.
" Ain't we uns goin' to be killed ? " she mur-
"No, fer even if we do buck into the freight,
hit won't do us much damage now."
Within a few feet of the freight, the hand-car
was brought to a standstill without even " buck-
ing " it.
" Brakes be moighty quar things," muttered
Bill jumping to the ground. " When I 'lowed
hit wuz broke agin, hit must only have. been
caught. Wall, pard," he added, wringing his
companion's hand, " death'd cum hard jes' as we
uns air to be freed."
Carol watched as the two removed the hand-
car from the track. Then the freight puffed
away, whereupon the convicts replaced the hand-
car on the track ready to proceed.
" Have yer had 'nuff, young un ? Air yer
scared ? " demanded Bill.
340 A Maid of the Mountains
Carol shook her head. "'Tain't that I'm
scared." She looked up the track to where her
father and Duke were approaching slowly. " I'll
wait fer him. He's my paw. I'm much 'bliged
fer my ride."
Bill laughed. " Wall, hit wuz excitin' at any
The nearer Samuel Cornwell came, the more
Carol's heart sank. She was bound to have Duke
back but she dreaded accusing her father, so she
waited for him to speak first.
He, on his side, was also embarrassed. It was
unusual for him to be so deeply stirred as he had
been when he thought Carol would be dashed to
pieces, but now he did not wish her to see how
much he had cared. He had, therefore, waited
to grow calmer before joining her.
" Wall, Carol, air yer goin' on hum now ? "
was all he asked.
" E'o, I'm goin' back to camp," and her eyes
flashed, thinking of Duke.
" Then yer kin take him back with yer," he
answered indicating Duke.
Tears rose in her eyes so glad was she that he
had repented. " Why did yer take him ? " she
" I didn't take him. He followed me."
She looked as incredulous as she felt, and he,
noting it, cried :
" Carol, yer didn't think I stole him ? "
344 -^ -Mate/ of the Mountains
There was such a ring of horror in his voice
and his manner was such that she instantly knew
that she had misjudged him. Rather than to let
him see how she had suspected him, she chose to
" Of course, I didn't think hit, paw."
His look softened. " Hit wuz this way, Carol.
He followed me a long ways, 'fore I seed him, an'
then I tried to drive him back, but he wuz bound
to follow. I reckon he wanted ter go hum bein'
strange up thar. That's the way I figgered hit
out. An' when, he wouldn't go back I 'cided to
let him keep on with me an' leave him at the
Davenports'. I hated ter go way back with him
any wa3^s, 'sides which I wuz still sore at yer fer
thinkin' I took things."
Carol was thoroughly contrite now. " Paw, I
know yer didn't take um an' I'm awful sorry I
ever 'lowed yer did," and then she told about
finding the bundle at camp, and added, " Yer
must fergive me, paw. I'm goin' North with a
lady an' I don't want yer to think hard of me."
At first she had not intended to tell him about
Mrs. Morton's offer, but now that her heart
had melted toward him, she withheld nothing
" Carol, hit's a great chance," he said, and then
hesitated. "An' — an' — I don't dare promise
nothin', but I 'low yer '11 be happier if yer knows
I'm goin' to try to do better."
Northward Bound 345
" Oh, paw," was all she answered, but the way
she said it fully satisfied him, and strengthened
him in his resolve.
Then she kissed him good-bye, and started up
the mountain with Duke. The way seemed short
to her now that her mind was at peace.
Half-way up the road to Melrose she beheld
Beth searching for her and Duke.
" He wandered off, an' I went to find him,"
was all Carol said in explanation.
" We didn't know what to think," answered
Beth, and then because her mind was full of
another matter she let the subject drop. " Carol,
mamma's been telling me about your going
North with Mrs. Morton. Why didn't you tell
me about it ? I'm so pleased I don't know what
to say. It's almost too good to be true. Aren't
you delighted ? "
They were walking side by side, with arm
locked in arm, and Beth was so excited over
Carol's good fortune that she would have skipped
along had not Carol seemed so stolid.
" Aren't you pleased ? " Beth demanded again.
"Yes, I'm pleased, but " Carol could
hardly keep the tears down. "Hit's hard to
leave yer and 'Liz'beth. I can't help thinkin' of
" Well, I'll write you good long letters, an' I'll
be so proud to hear of the progress you're
34^ A Mdid of the Mountains
Carol looked at her wistfully. "Will yer
really be proud if I get 'long well ? "
"I'll be awfully, awfully proud."
Her enthusiasm cheered her companion.
" That'll make me try more'n ever," and Carol
smiled appreciatively. "An' Mrs. Morton said
as how I can take Brune with me. That'll make
me less lonesome."
" I'm sorry for one thing. Mrs. Morton has sent
for you to come back to Tremont on the after-
noon train. She received another telegram that
makes it positively necessary for her to leave to-
By this time they w^ere back at camp, and
Carol was given a belated luncheon, Maggie, her-
self, bringing out extra dainties for her.
"I'll think when I'm way up North of yer.
'Though I don't know how to thank yer in words,
I do thank yer in my heart fer havin' been so
good to we uns," said Carol to Maggie.
" Go 'long, chile. I ain't done nothin', nohow.
It's all Missy Beth."
" I know yer only does hit fer me 'cause of her,
" I don't do it for her only. Ever since yo'
sang that day, yo' sang yo'self right into my
heart, chile." Maggie was surprised at herself
for owning as much, but now that Carol was
going away she wanted a favor of her, and was
leading up to the subject. " When yo' sings, it's
Northward Bound 347
jes' like I wuz back in Floridah, an' de sun am
sbinin' an' thar ain't nothin' to bother this ole
black woman. Would you mind, chile, singin'
jes' once more f er me ? "
" Would yer really like me to sing ? " Carol
was very much pleased that she could do some-
thing for Maggie, so she sat down on a rock and
with Maggie near by, began one of her bird
Attracted by her singing, the other campers
came noiselessly to listen, but Carol was not dis-
turbed, as she was only thinking of pleasing
On and on she sang, pondering over what Mag-
gie had said about the sun shining, and there
being no trouble. The joyousness of the picture
rang forth in her notes, while the sound from the
flowing falls made a pleasing accompaniment.
Their applause, as she finished, embarrassed her
so that she did not know what to say or do.
" Carol, if you only apply yourself, you'll make
a very fine singer. You must be very thankful,
because this great opportunity has come to you,"
cried Mrs. Davenport, enthusiastically.
"I am thankful," murmured Carol, and then she
tried to say what she had been thinking for a
long time. " Hit's 'cause yer gal wuz so power-
ful good that everythin' nice has happened. 'Fore
I go, I'd like to tell you uns what I think, but I
can't do hit — it." So overcome was she that she
348 A Maid of the Mountains
fled toward the falls. Beth flew after her, as she
wished to be with her protege every moment of
Carol's few remaining hours in camp.
" Beth has been good to her, but there is another
point to consider," said Mrs. Davenport to her
husband. " This opportunity would never have
come to Carol if God had not given her a won-
derful voice ; Mrs. Morton told me so herself.
What will that voice do for Carol ? It will proba-
bly raise her above the position of her birth, but
will doing this be a real blessing ? I feel a great
responsibility about the child, for Beth's enter-
tainment brought Carol's voice to the notice of
Maggie answered before Mr. Davenport could
"Don't yo' worry, Miss Mary. Dat voice
couldn't be nothin' but a blessin'. Why it melted
dis dry, ole heart ob mine 'til dere's nothin' I
wouldn't do for dat chile. Den 'sides her voice,
Carol has a heart ob gold. I didn't see it at f urst
myself, not even dough Missy Beth did, but now
I do, an' I'm proud ob Missy Beth fer 'scoverin'
Carol ob Carolina, a rale progidy."